From the Editor's Desk
Welcome to the September issue of The Halon Herald!
What a crazy few weeks it has been here in NJ! First we had an earthquake and then Hurricane Irene blew through. We hope everyone fared well despite both.
In some exciting news of our own, The Halon Herald has reached its 2,000th reader - thanks to all for their support!
In this issue, we list a whole host of upcoming events pertaining to the fire suppression industry, give some recognition to some important people and more.
We have included a poll in this issue and would love for you to voice your opinion!
As always, please feel free to direct to me any questions, comments or suggestions as they are always welcome!
Take Our Poll!
Let us know what you think. Results will be published in the next issue of The Halon Herald.
NAFED Announces 2012 Regional Conference Schedule
NAFED has announced its 2012 Regional Conference Schedule. New Orleans is back on the schedule for the first time in a number of years. Also, next year's Las Vegas meeting will be held at the Monte Carlo Casino and Resort.
The scheduled dates are:
March 8-9, 2012
Monte Carlo Casino & Resort
3770 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
NAFED Discounted Hotel Rate: $83.00
Reservation Cut-off Date: February 6, 2012
April 12-13, 2012
Caesars Atlantic City
2100 Pacific Avenue
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Hotel Rate: $115/Temple Tower
Hotel Rate: $135/Centurion Tower
Reservation Cut-off Date: March 11, 2012
May 10-11, 2012
Astor Crowne Plaza
739 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
NAFED Discounted Hotel Rate: $149.00
Reservation Cut-off Date: April 8, 2012
FSSA Announces Keynote Speaker for 2012 Annual Forum
The FSSA, will hold its 2012 Annual Forum at the Rancho Las Palmas in Rancho Mirage, California from February 25-28, 2012. The featured speaker for the event will be economist Alan Beaulieu.
One of the country's most informed economists, Alan Beaulieu is a principal of the Institute for Trend Research where he serves as President. Since 1990, he has been consulting with companies throughout the US, Europe, and Japan on how to forecast, plan, and increase their profits based on business cycle trend analysis. Alan is also the Senior Economic Advisor to NAW and the Chief Economist for HARDI.
Alan is co-author, along with his brother Brian, of the book MAKE YOUR MOVE, and has written numerous articles on economic analysis. He makes up to 150 appearances each year, and his keynotes and seminars have helped thousands of business owners and executives capitalize on emerging trends. Prior to joining the Institute, Alan was a principal in a steel fabrication company and also in a software development company.
UTC Fire & Security Launches New Brand for U.S. services business
July 18, 2011
UTC Fire & Security has aligned its United States fire and security services businesses under the Chubb brand, providing a new, more seamless interface to customers. Multiple service entities that are part of UTC Fire & Security, including Detection Logic, Fire Systems Inc. (FSI), Florida State Fire and Security (FSFS) and Red Hawk, are now known as Chubb, a UTC Fire & Security Company. UTC Fire & Security is a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX). For more information click here.
Keystone Fire Protection (PA) Wins Award
Keystone Fire Protection is the recipient of the U.S. Small Business Administration's 2011 Eastern Pennsylvania "Jeffrey Butland" Family Owned Business of the Year Award. The company was selected from over 600,000 businesses in Pennsylvania. The award was presented at a special ceremony during the annual "SBA Day at the Ballpark" on May 26, 2011.
(Hat tip FireWatch)
Special Feature: Recession is Temporary, Service Sales Model is Permanent
By Joe Siderowicz
The majority of fire alarm, security, sprinkler, nurse call and sound distributors continue to feel the impact of the struggling economy. Those that have recently gained some project work still remain cautious when forecasting revenue goals. Over the past few years, many installation and upgrade projects have been cancelled or postponed. Projects that do go out for bid attract aggressive pricing by desperate competition. Some companies have chosen to walk away rather than submit bids below acceptable margins. Although there are signs of recovery, the overall systems integration environment is full of uncertainty.
During the recession many companies looked to service as the source for much needed revenue. Some firms already had service sales programs in place, while others invested in the needed sales aids, training, and manpower to implement their programs. Over the past few years, I've had the opportunity to work with over fifty systems integrators. Some were looking to improve their current service sales effort, while others were starting from scratch. The common thread is the realization they could do a better job selling service agreements. Also common was a lack of understanding of how big an opportunity was available for those launching new programs. At the same time, companies with service sales efforts were not aware of current best practices and were operating in a mode in need of upgrading.
It's not surprising that most companies in the systems integration business struggle when seeking knowledge and support when it comes to service marketing. Manufacturers don't provide service sales training for their dealers as they are focused on shipping and installing more products. Many integrators rely on a small peer group of trusted industry savvy friends. Most owner/operators are members of industry organizations made up of like firms that distribute similar products to stay abreast of trends. While these groups provide great resources, none that I'm aware of, offer service sales training to its members.
The service market is thriving at record levels. Aggressive companies are growing their service agreement revenue at double digit rates. They are also gaining market share that is currently available due to lack of performance by distressed service providers. Polling my clients at the end of 2010, I was happy to hear the average growth in service agreement revenue was over 30%. Additionally, leads for new system installations and upgrades generated while pursuing service customers exceeded their expectations. These customers were the source of new revenue at preferred margin levels. This business was gained outside the bid mill, negotiated directly with end users.
A service sales program is exactly that, a program. It is not a part time effort utilizing outdated materials and sales strategies from days gone by. In today's market, environment communicating value is critical to success. For those companies that can't communicate their value, they are left to differentiate themselves on price. This is typically the case for companies that continue to package their service offerings as commodities centered on code required inspections. A recent survey of building owner operators confirmed most were well aware of code requirements, but were more concerned about response times, interrupted operations, and tenant satisfaction. The majority were open to or actively seeking new service providers.
Bundling multiple systems and services into one seamless service agreement is becoming a major differentiator in the marketplace. End users are seeking one source for fire alarm, sprinklers, security, etc. Some companies have taken aggressive positions adding additional skills to their workforce. Others have partnered with subcontractors to package their services. Strategies vary by company and market. What doesn't vary is the need to craft a service agreement that the building owner/operator is receptive to. Gone are the days when every agreement was basically a test or inspection. Packaging an agreement that may include fire alarm, access control, nurse call, or sprinkler systems requires different service offerings for each system combined into one agreement that meets the client's individual needs. Service providers that aren't moving in that direction may be faced with losing their clients to more creative and responsive companies.
Hopefully the economy will rebound soon and companies will once again be in a position to win installation work at acceptable margins. For those firms that have implemented a service sales program, the outlook is excellent. They will continue to improve their company's financial position and value at the cost of those who continue to sell, rather than market service. Joe Siderowicz is President of the AfterMarket Consulting Group. Joe has more than twenty five years experience in designing and implementing service sales programs for systems integrators, dealers and manufacturers.
People in the News
William A. Eckholm, President & CEO, Firetrace International
Named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year�
2011 Regional Award winner
Award Recognizes Entrepreneurial Excellence in Technology Products Category
SCOTTSDALE, AZ - Firetrace International, a world leader in special hazard fire protection, announced that William A. Eckholm, President & CEO, received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year� 2011 Mountain Desert Award in the Technology Products category. According to Ernst & Young LLP, the award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. Mr. Eckholm was selected by an independent panel of judges, and the award was presented at a gala event at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts on June 16, 2011.
"I am humbled by this honor as I feel it reflects the work of Firetrace's employees far more than my own efforts" commented Eckholm. "While I am thrilled to lead the team of professionals we have assembled, I realize that strategy is only a small fraction of success; it is the implementation of that strategy by the team that has truly enabled our incredible growth."
Firetrace International has been a member of FSSA since 2001. Bill Eckholm was a Past President for FSSA and he now serves on the Public Policy Committee as Chair.
About Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year�
Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year� is the world's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential, and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 140 cities in more than 50 countries.
(Hat tip FSSA Annunicator)
Kratos' Anton Vegeto competes against Lance
|John Parker, Steve Forbes, Tim Robertson, Anton Vegeto
Anton Vegeto competed in the Livestrong Challenge, a cycling race in Philadelphia, covering 100 miles with 400 feet of climbing. Anton completed the ride in just over 6 hours.
News from Wesco
|Brianna (middle), her mom Karen (on left), and her sister Marissa (on right)
Wesco was paid a surprise visit last month from Airman Brianna Zukarfein, daughter of Karen Zukarfein, Wesco's Senior Executive Assistant.
Brianna entered the Air Force's Basic Military Training on December 14, 2010 and graduated February 11, 2011. Bri began Phase 1 of Surgical Tech training at Ft. Sam Houston, San Antonio, TX and continued with Phase 2 training at Travis AFB, California, gaining much hands-on experience in the operating room. She returned to San Antonio to complete Phase 3 training, specializing in becoming an orthopedic technican. She graduated 2nd in her class and is now assigned to Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX, where she will begin working at Wilford Hall and Brook Army Medical Center this August. All of us at Wesco are very proud of Brianna!
Did You Know?
- That there are currently 6 new agents being tested under review by the EPA's under the SNAP List Program that include for both total flooding and streaming uses? Click here to find out what they are.
- HARC/HRC Board of Directors Meeting - Washington DC - September 8, 2011
- NJAFED Golf Outing - September 12, 2011
- GAFSED (Georgia Association of Fire Safety Equipment Dealers) 2011 Annual Conference - Stone Mountain, Georgia - September 23 - 25 2011
- CALSAFE Annual Meeting - Monterrey, CA - October 7 - 9, 2011
- FSSA Technical Committee Meeting - Baltimore, MD - October 12, 2011
- FSSA Board of Directors Meeting - Baltimore, MD - October 13, 2011
- International Aircraft Systems Fire Protection Working Group - Atlantic City, NJ - November 16 - 17, 2011
If you have any questions, comments, would like to be featured in a future Halon Herald, or would like to be added to our mailing list for this newsletter, please contact Kari Buser at [email protected]
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