Vector: National accounts in play; we want them
Vector Security says national accounts customers are “in play” due to acquisitions and corporate break-ups. And, Michael Grady, Vector Security’s EVP told me, in an email interview that Vector is poised to expand its national account business for a number of reasons: Vector is still privately owned and it has money in the bank (something Vector president Pam Petrow talked to me about recently when Vector got a new $225m credit facility.) Also in Vector’s favor, he said, is its move, announced Tuesday to a new National Service Center in Gainsville, Va.
The new facility is about 10 miles away from its former facility in Manassas, Va.
Grady said that there’s a “hyper consolidation” in the loss prevention industry similar to what happened in 2001. Further, he said, “companies that have long established histories of serving national customers are today literally ‘in play’ again, due to factors such acquisitions and corporate break ups. That always creates doubt in customers, but this time, they only need to look back ten years. So those who are really concerned and indeed recognizing a trend here ... and that bodes well for Vector Security because of our high level of corporate independence and stellar financial stature.”
Last year, I interviewed Vector’s VP/GM for national accounts Joe English, who told me that Vector expected to take retail national accounts market share from ADT. He said ADT had about 50-55 percent of the market, and uses the same AM EAS technology that ADT uses. He said his goal is to “make [Vector] the predominant number three player in the EAS industry.” He further said that Vector expected to do about $75 million in national accounts business in 2010.
Grady declined to give me revenue figures for 2011 or gains in marketshare figures, but he did say that “As far as our sales figures last and this year, we experienced strong growth in 2010 and the trend is continuing in 2011.”
Vector’s new National Service Center is 27,000 square feet, has 130 employees who are involved with “Project Design and Coordination – Field Installation - our National Service Center – National Compliance Management – Billing – Engineering – TSP Recruitment and Management – Product Testing and Evaluation – our CRM department and Equipment repair.”
The center has a Virtual Loss Prevention Services Lab, which Grady described thus: “As our national account customers look towards newer and innovative technologies to resolve loss prevention, emergency communications, systems performance and ROI measurement, disaster preparedness, RFID applications, LP case management, managed EAS, IP video and analytics, and Network Management, we wanted to construct an environment whereby we can bench test the equipment itself, define new applications and compile ROI data. This facility allows us the technological platforms, space and environment to do so.”
The new facility is set up to enable Vector to service video, access, and EAS equipment onsite. Previously, “like most LP services providers, we sent malfunctioning equipment back to manufacturers and arranged for it to be repaired and sent back to us. But as we took on large-scale deployments of video and EAS equipment, we found that model to be unacceptable to our CRM commitments,” Grady said.
Testing new equipment will help the company stay on top of new LP protocols—both best practices and government regulations, Grady said. “It could mean New protocols such as SOPs, new product applications, adherence to national compliance, and reliance upon exceptions based instantaneous information are required to be managed and even anticipated from our national customers based upon changes in the nature of crime, employee theft, shoplifting and even litigation such as slip and fall and insufficient security suits.”
And Vector is not solely interested in retail national accounts. "While most earlier national account models were built upon the vast expansion of retail, our key defining element for likened customers is 'multi-site' with a need to control security, loss prevention and employee safety on a national basis," Grady said. "Today, all types of services; that were performed previously by local purveyors, and being targeted by national suppliers. The “Doc in a Box” in and out treatment center was just one area of the new entries in the market. There are many more to come."
Vector has national accounts customers in 44,000 locations. The company says it receives 26,000 service calls per month, all of which are qualified, and result in about 4,000 qualified service visits. Those service calls are resolved in an average of 2.6 days. All of Vector’s national accounts are monitored at Vector’s central station in Pittsburgh.