“I Love Logistics…” said no AV Integrator ever.
Logistics isn’t what integrators and solutions providers do. However, it is a necessary, perhaps necessary evil depending on where you sit.
In order to do the work that AV Integrators do, they have to have their ducks in a row. Not only does this include a clear scope of work, final engineering documents, and human resources ready to go onsite. They also need to have all of the parts and pieces in tow from flat panels to consumables and everything in between.
This sounds easy, right? Just order the stuff you need and away you go. However, if you have been around this business a while, you know it doesn’t work that way.
A less well-kept secret of the integration world is that manufacturers (in many cases) aren’t screaming out “We love Logistics” either.
For the most part this is an area where even the best fall short.
The great news is there is one particular part of the channel that does love logistics. That is distribution.
In the world of distribution, the focus is on delivering value that is both visible (products available, competitive pricing, good service) and value that is less visible (understanding what products are in demand, keeping stock levels, getting it to you on time, every time).
The good news is, when done right, distribution solves a lot of problems for integrators (and manufacturers). But that is the point, it isn’t something we should pat ourselves on the back for. It is something we should continue to focus on so we can earn more valuable business from important clients.
One business practice we are interested in learning more about is why so many integrators are so focused on buying direct?
We love our customers and work hard for them, but we often find that we only sell our customers a fraction of the total portfolio we offer.
When we ask why, the answers are rarely about price, availability or service. The answer is almost always the same and it has to do with the desire to buy direct.
What if we told you that using distribution gives the integrator the ability to have the best of both worlds?
Like for example…
Point of Sale Information: Some integrators have unique or special programs with their vendors. Did you know that a distributor can provide POS information to manufacturers so you can maximize your programs?
High Touch Service and Product Expertise: Think of a distribution partner as a two-point service provider. We will handle all logistics questions including shipping from manufacturer as well as our warehouses AND we have the on staff expertise to answer technical questions. (If we don’t, we will escalate for you!)
Less Fail Points: By ordering multiple lines through a single point, you have a lower chance of one or two pieces holding up a project. A value added distributor can put the pieces together for you and even help get it to the job site on time.
Increased Influence: Buying a little bit of equipment from a wide variety of sources gives you limited influence over a number of different channel partners. By moving a larger percentage of your spend to a distribution partner you can quickly grow your influence, pricing and support levels all through a single point of contact.
So maybe Logistics isn’t your thing. We are pretty sure that most AV integrators would say the same thing.
We know that our partners love to deliver solutions to technology and more importantly business problems.
As distributors, we like to solve problems too. We like to get our partners what they need, when they need it for a price that shows the complete picture of value.
Loving logistics isn’t for everyone, but for distributors it is the cornerstone of our business.