Catalyst AV Focuses On Full Solution
Another piece of the puzzle group directors say they can provide is filling the communication gap that typically exists between manufacturers and dealers.
“All manufacturers have a message that they want to bring out to the field, but getting it from their mouths to the field is sometimes a circuitous route,” Presti said. “We have a direct conduit to our 14,000 dealers. We can take the manufacturers’ message and make sure it’s communicated to the dealers in a way the dealer understands, because often times that doesn’t happen.”
Wally Whinna, president of Allnet Distributing in Elk Grove Village, Ill., and former vice president of sales and marketing at Avad, said recent surveys show the need for distributors is increasing, especially as dealer reliance on just-in-time delivery and technical support grows, and as vendors continue to cut back on the number of field reps that service dealers, a move that further erodes effective communications.
“The vendors really can’t communicate to all of those (dealers and integrators) any more,” Whinna said, adding that a recent survey showed that integrators buy 29 percent of their products direct from manufacturers and 43 percent through distribution.
“How do you keep all of those integrators current on all the new technologies? How do you get them into networking and surveillance? There’s a big need out there for one-on-one dealer/vendor interaction and dealer servicing.”
Just-in-time product delivery has also grown more important as dealers scale back on the amount of products they carry and manufacturers run leaner production schedules.
“A lot more manufacturers structure their inventory flow so there’s nothing left at the end of the month or during black-out periods,” said Mike Hench, president of Electronics Source in Boynton Beach, Fla. “A lot of times a manufacturer won’t have something, whereas a decently stocked distributor will be in position to get it.”
Foremost, though, Catalyst will focus on providing the full solution—products, education, technical support—that specialty dealers and integrators need to get the job done.