Potter Electric Cuts Distributors to Boost Customer Relationships

By Ashley Willis

ST. LOUIS — In an effort to make the company more customer-centered, Potter Electric Signal Co. has reduced the number of distributors that will have access to its line of addressable fire panels.

The change allows Potter’s sales and customer service teams to focus on the company’s established industry relationships. It also helps the manufacturer keep prices at competitive levels, while preventing market inundation, according to Potter.

“A lot of distributors out there have up to four lines of fire panels,” Potter Electric Executive Vice President of Fire & Security Dave Kosciuk tells SSI. “It just doesn’t make sense for them to carry another line if they can’t support it. However, it does make sense for us to go to the distributors that are able to support the line.”

As a result, Potter Electric has cut 70 of its 90 distributors; however, the change only affects the distribution of the company’s fire panels and not sprinkler or security products, according to Kosciuk.

For those with concerns that the reorganized channel will negatively affect Potter’s dealer base, Kosciuk says there is no need to worry.

“Our dealer base will not be affected; they are still going to have choices of where to buy our product,” he says. “There are still going to be at least two different distributors in a particular area. We’re not giving anybody exclusivity. It’s just that not every single [distributor] is going to have our product.”

The company maintains that it will only sell its products through its distribution channel and not directly to end users. Additionally, Potter will soon release products that should help its distributors grow their businesses.

“We wanted to give our distributors an added value product that they can bring to the market and still be profitable,” Kosciuk says. “With our new IP-based fire system and other products coming out, it’s going to move wholesale distribution to another level. Our whole philosophy is we’re going to allow the wholesale distributors to gain a bigger footprint in the fire alarm systems marketplace.”

Ashley Willis is associate editor for SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. She can be reached at (310) 533-2419.

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