Systems Depot opens doors

Distributor launches store in Miami, plans another 20 in three years
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Thursday, September 1, 2005

HICKORY, N.C.--When it comes to meeting the company's immediate goals, The Systems Depot is halfway there. After completing its most recent endeavor of installing a software upgrade, the low-voltage product distributor looks to expand to 30 stores in the next three years.
In July, the company completed a three-year, multi-million dollar project when it installed Axapta, an enterprise resource planning software platform. The Microsoft product features applications for financial management, customer relationship management, supply chain management and project management.
One aspect of the enhancement that customers will find helpful is the systems design feature. A customer can map out what products to use and the system will recognize if the products are compatible or not.
"We're out of the box, we're doing lots of different things and they all tie in together," said Randy Hall, president at the company.
The Systems Depot opened its 10th branch office in Miami in March. All of its offices, except for one in the Sacramento area of California, are now located in the Southeast. The company also operates 19 Depot Express Zones, a same-day shipping service that enables customers to remotely order products.
"We went east and west, now it's time to bring it all together," said Hall. And within the next 36 months, "we should fill in the entire U.S. market."
Hall stressed the internal infrastructure activities should not paint a picture of "a company distracted." His foremost concern is customer service.
To this end, this summer a team of product managers and systems engineers was assembled at the company. These industry experts are charged with identifying new product and how they are being integrated around the world.
The Systems Depot is among a number of low-voltage distributors that have initiated plans to expand this year.
"The particular role distribution companies in the security industry play is really becoming more dominated by the major players," said Jack Mallon, managing director at Mallon Associates, on the need for some firms to grow or consider exiting the industry. "It seems to me that the opportunities for the smaller companies are not as fruitful as in the past."
These large companies include General Electric and Honeywell, according to Mallon.
Tri-Ed Distribution, for example, changed hands in February, moving from a unit of Tyco International to private ownership led by industry veteran Steve Roth. The company quickly announced a plan to almost double its branch offices by early 2006.
Around the same time, ADI said it would establish 25 offices in 12 countries in Europe.
"We'll probably never have 100 stores like our competitors," said Hall. "We work very hard to stay completely in touch with our customers."