How Distributors Help Security Dealers Delight Customers

Find out how wholesale distributors are helping security dealers keep pace with new technology trends and services (RMR) opportunities.

A mutually beneficial, long-term relationship has to be predicated on trust. Within the security industry, it’s likely no other sector is more plugged into that truth than wholesale distribution vendors and their installing security contractor clientele. Geared toward nurturing and navigating the channel that delivers dealers and integrators the products they need to serve their customers, distributors are key landmarks on the security industry’s landscape.

As the industry continues to evolve in sophistication, both technologically and entrepreneurially, the role of the distributor also continues to evolve. While selling products and offering value-adds such as flexible credit terms and same-day shipping have been the norm for most mainstay distributors for a couple of decades now, the bar continues to rise on the expectations put on today’s premier distribution partners.

As with any business, competition catalyzes higher performance. The higher the standards are, the higher the expectations become. Major players in the distribution space have responded to that call by delivering to customers much more than mere products and a few extra services thrown in. They’ve responded by delivering an unprecedented amount of value-added benefits that dealers and integrators can prosper from and reap the benefits of through their partnerships with them.

Tri-Ed Distribution‘s senior management team was queried for their insights on the evolving role of the distributor and how today’s dealers and integrators can best lever-age their distribution partners’ capabilities to grow their businesses. The company, which was acquired by Anixter in 2014, is embarking on its 34th year of operation. The rearview mirror reflection of the industry’s history and evolution equip its leaders with a sharp perspective on the road we’ve travelled, and the road ahead.

Understanding Price Vs. Cost

While providing products and services remains the main artery putting lifeblood into the heart of distribution, those products and services are changing rapidly across the industry. As Pat Comunale, Tri-Ed’s president of global security solutions points out, the industry has grown markedly more intricate in recent years.

“When you look at the complexity of the security industry today, dealers and integrators need products from 10 to 12 manufacturers to complete an installation; whereas years ago, one would do it,” he says. “Distributors delivering the convenience without the carrying cost of stocking all these individual products make the distributor relationship even more valuable than it has ever been before.”

While competitive pricing is always a draw, most dealers, Comunale contends, take into account the price-versus-cost factor when weighing the overall value their distributor represents. Distribution relationships encompass much more than price. Most dealers and integrators today recognize that the total cost of the product – when they leverage their distributor’s expertise and product knowledge – far outweighs the so-called perceived price. Back-in costs are significantly minimized when a distributor can provide all the products needed, when they’re needed.

“A distribution partner should serve as their warehouse,” Comunale says. “Years ago, we set out to have locations in major marketplaces so we could get equipment to our dealers quickly and easily. They use the Tri-Ed infrastructure as well as our robust e-commerce inventory management system so they don’t have to carry the inventory. We have it when they need it, where they need it.”

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