Vanderbilt Industries Emerging as Access Control Solutions Provider to Be Reckoned With

Company aims to become dominant force amid highly fragmented market.

What products and services are you currently offering? What is Vanderbilt’s value proposition?

Vanderbilt’s products include smaller Web-based access like lite blue (above), bright blue or the SMS enterprise system.

MITCHELL KANE: We have a full spectrum of access control products with bright blue, lite blue, SMS [security management system] Enterprise, and a whole new portfolio in Europe with the Siemens’ acquisition. Our service sets us apart, and that’s really true with the value proposition. We have a highly skilled technical support team and highly skilled custom developers. One of the services we offer to end users is high-scale systems integration. A large majority of the systems we have installed are not just proprietary closed-in systems; they’re usually integrated into the work-flow of the organization.

The other value proposition we have that’s critical is that our dealer network is vast. There used to be a saying, “The sun never sets on Geoffrey systems [precursor to Vanderbilt],” and now that is true for Vanderbilt systems. If you’re a global end user, we can support, through our supply chain, pretty much anywhere on the planet.

In addition, because we’re not part of a very large organization, we’re extremely agile. If you have a specific need to be addressed, there may be something very specific to your vertical market or your organization or maybe your corporate policy. We actually look forward to being able to serve in that capacity.

RELATED: Vanderbilt Industries Acquires Siemens’ Security Products Business

GRILLO: Specific to Vanderbilt Int’l in Europe, it’s a bit of a broader product line because we have a full CCTV video management line, sold quite a bit through wholesale distribution, as well as a very high-end commercial intrusion-alarm business. Other than that, there’s a significant overlap in products, a full range of small to medium to enterprise access control systems for Vanderbilt Industries.

Mercury is a bit different. It’s strictly an OEM supplier of access control panel technology, as well as mag stripe. So Vanderbilt is a customer, but so are Honeywell and UTC’s Lenel business, S2, Keri, Open Options, RS2, and a number of other customers.

Have you encountered any pushback related to Mercury supplying products to Vanderbilt’s competitors?

GRILLO: It’s the exact opposite because when a customer goes to Mercury implementation, that install base has now opened up competitively to any customer using Mercury technology. So while the access control industry install base and end-user customer base is very sticky, as we say, once anyone we acquire becomes more open by implementing Mercury technology, it actually offers a much more open, competitive landscape for Mercury’s other customers to go after.

We’ve been very open and communicative to all of the customers about why we’re doing that, and we believe it’s good for the industry to have the most open protocol and technology and system architecture availa
ble. So we actually have not gotten any pushback in terms of conflict in the channels for having the ownership of those businesses.

What have been the top challenges in launching the business, and what do you anticipate as you push for market share?

GRILLO: We’re obviously still, in many parts of the world, not in an extremely healthy economic state, particularly in Europe. The Siemens business has been quite flat for several years. That will be a challenge for us as we come out of the new ownership and get organic growth going again. The separation of that business and trying to get it on a growth track are the biggest challenges we’ve had.

The biggest challenge going forward will be brand building. Who’s Vanderbilt? People may have recognized the Geoffrey name or in Europe some of the other names we acquired, but these were product brands. … It will take time, effort and monetary investment to build that brand. – Joe Grillo

KANE: When you initially launch as a business, capturing the name recognition and getting out to everybody that you used to do business with that you’re still in business and you have a new name. When you spin off from a large organization, there are many channels to market and some of the channels weren’t always exposed to the manufacturing side of the house. It was a little reverse engineering there to capture the entire install base.

GRILLO: Right, the biggest challenge going forward will be brand building. Who’s Vanderbilt? People may have recognized the Geoffrey name or in Europe some of the other names we acquired, but these were product brands. We have to replace Siemens, Ingersoll-Rand and Schlage with Vanderbilt as a well-known brand within that side of the business. It will take time, effort and monetary investment to build that brand.

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at [email protected].

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