Cintra talks Edwards brand, channel conflict

President of UTCFS Detection & Alarm knows dealers' pain points
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

LAS VEGAS—Antonio Cintra was in charge of the services business in the Americas for UTCFS before the acquisition of GE Security; post-acquisition, he’s moved to the other side. In his new role as president of UTCFS Detection & Alarm, Cintra is working with the channel.

In a June 7 interview with Security Systems News at the NFPA Expo here, Cintra said he’s very excited to be working with “a great and extremely loyal channel” and said he has particular respect for the channel “because not so long ago, I was competing with them.”

When the acquisition was announced, some expressed concern about possible conflict between UTCFS’s direct fire services business and the new GE Security fire dealers.

Any concern among dealers appears to have been quelled, Cintra said, by UTCFS addressing this issue directly at a dealer conference in April that was attended by almost all of UTCFS’s 300 new fire dealers.

“We’re committed to keeping the [service and channel] businesses at arm’s length. It’s something we’ve done effectively over the past four years on the security side of products ... we have a proven capability to do that.”

The Edwards brand was emblazoned on the show floor booth and was in evidence in swag of many varieties at the show.

“UTCFS had a strong position around the world in Europe, China ... what we were lacking is a presence in North America; this acquisition gave us that overnight,” Cintra said. “Along with that came the Edwards brand, a hidden jewel ... we’ve rejuvenated the brand because it’s all the things we stand for: innovation, technology, brand awareness.”

Cintra said priority one would be making the sales process easier for dealers.

As an example of how UTCFS would do that, Cintra cited “web-based ordering ... we’re making it easier for them to find products they need, tracking the delivery, improving the whole order experience.”

UTCFS also has “a phenomenal opportunity to improve web-based training for dealers,” which will allow them to deliver training to dealers in a cost-effective way, he said.

In addition to having a solid position in North America, Asia and Europe, Cintra noted that the company has “1,000 engineers and 30 design centers worldwide ... Our ability to innovate will make the life of the installer easier and the life of the customer better,” he said.

“We’ve got a good thing going and I’m very happy to be a part of it and we have an opportunity to make it better,” Cintra said. “We have an incredible amount of talent internally and with our partners. I don’t want to say that UTC has unlimited resources, but it has the means to invest and it has done that. We have all the ingredients we need to continue to be a leader in the fire space.”