The Changing Face of Distribution

Distributors offer new ways to go to market

Do you offer online chat and 800 numbers?

Sorrentino: "We have always offered our customers 800 numbers that provide dedicated account managers, as well as systems design and technical support professionals. Our sales and technical support teams are available via instant messaging for resellers and dealers who prefer to use that mode of communication."

Capulli: "We offer 800 numbers but do not currently offer online chat. All of our marketing materials are posted to our Web site. Customers can gain access to their accounts through using access codes. We are also looking at social media as an opportunity to utilize quick and inexpensive marketing tools to get a message out quickly to our dealer network and the public. This is something that we are in the process of examining our structure, which social media resources we want to work through and what ways social networking will help us."

Christiansen: "We offer both Web site support as well as product technical support. We don't offer online chat, but instead buyers can e-mail our techical support department with any questions or concerns. Most of our questions come through our sales people."

What type of product delivery is available; free shipping or reduced rates for volume buys?

Sorrentino: "We provide free ground shipping on most orders, which, for the U.S. means approximately 90 percent of the country receives their packages second-day because of our close proximity to the major delivery service hubs."

Capulli: "The market right now is very competitive. Instead of three people looking at the same job, now you have 20 people fighting for the same job. The value-added services that we provide and all of the other components that fall into the distribution bucket outweigh the freight and shipping costs."

Christiansen: "We have five distribution centers around the country and guarantee same-day shipping and, in most cases, next-day delivery. We recently lowered our volume requirements for free shipping and although we don't have outside sales, occasionally there are some shipments that have to go far distances."
How does the state of convergence influence what products you offer?

Sorrentino: "We created our business with a focus on IP-based security solutions, so we have always been ahead of the curve as it relates to IP technology. We continue to add best-of-breed manufacturers that support value-added distribution and IP-based solutions and want to experience the benefits and efficiencies of two-tier distribution. To that end, we recently added Cisco's networking and physical security products to our line card."

Capulli: "We have aligned ourselves with the systems side of our business. We are seeing more opportunities in CCTV and fire but we've also aligned ourselves with specific vendors. We are going through an educational process with our dealers while we merge into more of those type of products. Customers are looking for new revenue channels."

Christiansen: "U.S. Lock continues to update its products, focusing on expandable systems so we can continue to support our customer's evolving business needs and keep pace with the general state of industry electronics. We offer mainly access control and standalone access control solutions as well as more upgradeable products."

PSA Distribution Model

PSA Security Network is the world's largest electronic security cooperative. However, you no longer need to be an equity owner to take advantage of this powerful distributor. By combining PSA's purchasing power, job sharing, lead generation and of course PSA-TEC with the strengths and personal attention to detail of locally-owned companies, these leading security systems integrators within the PSA network have access to the latest security and commercial sound products, certifications and best practices necessary to develop cost-effective security solutions. To learn more about leveraging the power of PSA, please visit E. Cole, Director of Marketing, PSA Security Network, Westminster, Colo.

AMAG Distribution Model