ProSource Initiatives at The Summit 2018 Reflect Raw Success of Buying Group
The Summit 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee had a more relaxed tone than usual. It seemed that significant pain points of the past decade or so (read the 2008 recession) plaguing ProSource and BrandSource members, as well as the rest of the CI industry, had deteriorated almost entirely.
That sigh of relief is not solely derived from a positive economic forecast; it is also because of the careful strategic planning of the ProSource group and their ability to remain at the top of the food chain.
At the top level, David Workman addressed the better part of the 560 members in attendance by openly stating how proud he was of the group. The CEO and President of ProSource believes that the growth in the group reflects the state of the industry in that all ships rise with the high tide.
Workman then began to break down just how influential the group is. Of the three main categories, performance for video, audio, and custom install was up. Most notably, the custom audio category had reached lengths of 23% and 12% for electronic components and home speakers respectively.
"It's a share game really. I've always had a philosophy of share of the market," Workman said. "When you have over 20% share of someone's business, you have a seat at that table. We, in the audio category, have a big seat at the table."
Workman notes that this strategy is from awareness to st programming a strong distribution, creating a 'flywheel effect'for the members and the industry. And even though web retailers do third-party market sales - through something like Amazon - they focus on exclusive series, one-offs, and being "partnered with brands that have the right channel strategy that favors our type of dealer."
That has lead ProSource to grow beyond the otherwise stagnation in the industry for "mature categories."
"Each and every time we do that we continue to grow and as we grow, even though the industry stays somewhat flat, our numbers continue to go up," Workman added. "It's just worked for the last few years. We've had a career year with substantial growth in the mature categories."
Another big topic of discussion for Workman and his group was Managed Services.
Taking a step back, it's clear that the entirety of the industry is moving towards Recurring Monthly Revenue to add an extra level of financial stability to revenue streams. This also adds a foundation of extended services that keep their dealer top of mind for homeowners. And it's not just dealers looking for these opportunities, manufacturers, buying groups, and vendors are taking notes as well.
For ProSource, that means one of the chief initiatives in partnered services is a way to align dealers with a technology and security consultants. The two partners selected, OneVision and Parasol, extend mostly the same ideas for ProSource members, although their offerings will be the deciding factor. CEO and President of OneVision Resources Joseph Kolchinsky has spread his message across most of the industry, but he agrees with Workman that ProSource's commitment to this initiative speaks volumes for the industries direction.
"We've come to the same conclusion that this is an existential threat to the industry," Kolchinsky said. "If the business model doesn't change and if integrators don't adopt a scalable and sustainable level of services and support, they will have trouble navigating nearby storms as well as thriving in a scenario where customers have come to expect this kind of experience."
"The fact that ProSource has made this such a core initiative frankly is a statement to the industry that service is this important," he added. "I think every other group needs to be paying attention to this."
Overall, the outlook for ProSource is bright. It's hard to not feel the energy and buzz from members at events like this, and it's certainly resonating across the industry. With as many new members as they have brought on, Workman also recognizes the importance of being very particular with each new initiative. Intangibles such as roundtable meetings and business reviews that strip companies down to P&L are ways that members are able to benchmark each other. His current focus on increased member engagement, lighting/shading, and member services were vetted so rigorously because he understands the impact that they have is far beyond just being a buzz word or a flavor of the month.
"I've always been particular about initiatives, they are a funny thing because when you start one, they don't go away," Workman said. "As we build this organization I've always thought know our size our strength and it's also our weakness. I am always very conscious of how we make this very large organization as intimate and small as we possibly can. We're fortunate because like I said we are built upon a team of people team of great people rather than what is normally the case and a lot of organizations where it's an iconic single individual you know we're not that way."
"We're a team and that's our strength. Ultimately that is our greatest strength," he added.
2018 ProSource Member of the Year Awards
- West Region
- Atlantic Stereo - Tom and Monique Farinola
- North Central Region
- Sundown One - Alex and Viktoriia Foster
- South Central Region
- A/V Design Consultants, Inc. - Paul Crawford, Chris Palmer
- North East Region
- Value Electronics - Robert and Wendy Zohn
- South East Region
- Executive Electronics of South West Florida - David Minerva
- Pro Member of the Year
- World Wide Stereo - Bob and Karen Cole