Kevin A. Busza
Since when does a manufacturer representative provide a services component on its line card?
Yes, I am referring to services such as system programming, system commissioning and professional design documentation. Symco, Inc. a Mid-Atlantic manufacturers’ rep sees the potential, and is making the offering to its network of dealers. If you talk with Symco these days, you will see how it is redefining the value proposition of the modern manufacturers’ rep by offering more than just hardware solutions. Symco recently announced its relationship with ICD Systems as the professional services component to be offered on the Symco Line Card. ICD Systems is a national professional services company offering both AV and IT services. Do you need a Crestron programmer in NYC? No problem. Do you need Cisco network support in Los Angeles? ICD has the coverage.
This is a major shift for the manufacturers’ rep model. It is a fundamental change to offer service solutions. The traditional model is simply hardware only. As we know, historically integrators have relied upon the reps to demonstrate the equipment, facilitate product clarifications and even help close the deal on occasion – all related to the hardware. As for the services component, it has been left to the Integrator to staff all the qualifications necessary. But, what if there is a need for service support? Yes, the integrator can and should staff the necessary resources, however, the Symco Professional Services Line Card provides companies greater support options. All this is delivered in the form of a qualified, national services provider delivered by the same trustworthy Rep firm.
Today technology is even more complicated. The market is driving businesses to have expertise in many disparate technologies. Companies must know network configuration, control system programming, digital signage content creation and all the accompanying certifications. Businesses are pressured to provide a larger technical solutions staff at even more competitive prices. This creates a very challenging and competitive environment, as well as, applies pressures to even the most successful companies. Forward looking companies recognize the value of outsourced professional services. It is even better when this resource is provided by your established rep relationship. Maybe we are taking a page out of the IT industry playbook.
IT VARs share similarities with AV VARS. Both business models work with select brands, leverage an “integrated systems” approach and promote the value ad created via the solutions offering. In the IT ecosystem it is much more common to partner with affiliated companies to provide services. IT distributors and representatives have long since decided to offer a services component on its “linecard.” Symco is helping lead the way to making AV VARS more competitive with IT VARS by providing this forward looking approach to service offerings.
It will be interesting to see the result of this new approach. This might allow for businesses to be even more empowered to take on work when internal resources are scarce. If a project comes up that requires certain expertise, Symco together with ICD is there to bridge the gap. This will allow AV VARS to be more agile and competitive.