CR Talks To: Michael Flink, President, ADI Americas : On the Up & Up
A reliance on strong category management is seeing this distributor and its clients successfully through 2011.July 2011 By CR Staff
CustomRetailer: We wanted to talk to you about the directions in which you are leading the brand among residential and commercial custom integrators. Can you give a general synopsis of what your goals and aspirations are?
Michael Flink: In the period between 2003 and 2009, ADI spent a lot of time improving its internal processes and delivery mechanisms in moving to a much higher level of execution, where we now deliver 96 percent on time. We've fine-tuned operations even further, and the company is back in growth mode. The mission I was asked to take on was to look at growing the business with a sales- and customer-focused set of eyes. We're looking to find ways to help our customers grow, which is how we grow.
CR: How is your business divided between serving residential and commercial dealers at this time and is one area growing more than the other?
Flink: So many of our products cross over into both areas; we have 65,000 active customers and handle 15,000 transactions a day. There are areas that we define as very commercial, such as IP video systems and commercial 70-volt type A/V products. We're doing very well in the small- and medium-sized commercial space because we are focused on it. We've added some product lines and are moving into commercial A/V in a big way. We're moving into IP-based video distribution and CCTV systems in a big way.
On the residential side, a lot of that business we had been used to in the past was due to big-bulk home construction, and the overall market was hugely impacted. Interestingly, our business was not impacted as much. What we are seeing with our stronger dealers is that they are adapting very quickly to a theme we have presented, which is selling more content to every customer.
CR: Can you speak about the brand, product and category mix you currently carry?
Flink: There are a couple of dimensions to my answer. One thing we are doing is moving to stronger category management implementation. Traditionally, we've provided a broad product selection; in 2010, we had 50,000 products sold consistently through the year, with about 130,000 parts in our system. Now, however, in each product category, we are becoming deeper in availability of products and narrowing, by just a hair, the selection, to provide consistency across all of our branches. As an example, take monitor mounts. We sell thousands each week. We have 10 brands, and 120 models in stock—but there are not 120 really differentiated products.