Graybar pumps up security offering

Cameras, access control and notification devices added to serve its electrician customers
Sunday, February 1, 2004

ST. LOUIS - Electrical and communication product supply house Graybar has entered the security distribution market, adding surveillance cameras, access control and notification devices to its portfolio of products.

Company officials said the addition follows the needs of its customers, the electrical and communication contractors, who are installing security products as part of their electrical or communication projects.

It also marks a concerted effort by Graybar to provide security-related products. Previously the company offered bits and pieces of security equipment, such as fire pulls or strobes, but not an addressable fire panel. Now with the addition of surveillance equipment and access control products and a number of other products, said Al Eddings, vice president of communication products, Graybar can offer a complete security solution to its customers.

“What we looked at when making this decision was how many of our existing customers are already doing this work,” said Karl Griffith, director of the reseller market for Graybar, who estimated that more than 50 percent of electrical contractors already do work in the low voltage market.

The addition of Graybar into the security distribution market comes during an increasingly competitive climate for distributors. Anixter entered the security field two years ago, while a number of independent distributors have expanded their operations lately. ADI also recently announced a reorganization, with a new look at its branches and method for stocking products in-house.

Compared with other distributors of security products, Graybar could be called a powerhouse in terms of size of the company. The employee-owned company carries 1.3 million different products, operates 250 branches across North America, has 14 warehouses and employs 8,000 people.

Griffith said officials at Graybar did not take into account the climate of the existing security distribution market, since it did not enter the market to solely to garner business from traditional security dealers or systems integrators. “Our goal is our existing customer base,” he said.

Nonetheless, Graybar will work with traditional security dealers and systems integrators who want to buy product from the company.

Graybar began working on extending its security product line-up about a year ago, but officially announced the additions at the BICSI Conference in Orlando in early January. The conference is geared towards telecommunication designers and installers.

So far Graybar has assembled 57 different security-related products as part of its security offerings, with products from manufacturers such as Pelco, Keyscan, RCI, Potter Electric Signal and Altronix. It builds upon its existing relationship with companies like Aiphone, Brady, Edwards Signaling, Viking and Wheelock.