Cutting out the integrator and the consultant, quite the move...
"finding some specific cases of distributor design problems "
I am sure they are out there but I doubt many people will talk. End user would make themselves look bad. Perhaps an integrator who was brought in later?
Structurally, having a distributor do a design raises serious concerns.
Very very distributor employees have the training / skills / experience to actually design an enterprise system (more than just picking camera, VMS vendor, etc.).
No distributor carries a 'full range of products', simply because many manufacturers do not sell through distribution or certain distributors. Even for the products they sell, they have varying profitability levels depending on arrangements with manufacturers, that could skew their choice.
"there is very little justification (other than ethics) to prevent distributor direct selling to the end user"
Shedding light on which distributors does this is a powerful disincentive to distributors doing this. They do fear their customers knowing this because distributors have lots of distributor competitors that their customers can switch to.
Btw, here is an interesting RFP from an Illinois high school. Money quote:
"Anixter is the technology advisor to UTHS and has arranged special pricing. They can be contacted to answer specific technical questions regarding this project or products listed in this specification. Contractors will provide Anixter 48 hours for the completion of quotes. Anixter will insure pricing is set in 90 day increments to minimize price changes to UTHS projects."
They even list Anixter part numbers, e.g.:
An Anixter designed system using Arecont cameras.....
IPVMU Certified | 08/03/15 05:20pm
Just posted this screen shot of an Anixter email in another Anixter section, but I think it belongs here too. I would never use the Ask an Expert section, but looks like it is pretty easy and straight forward to do. If I was a smaller end user and did not know any better it would be tempting to click.