ADI Battles Manufacturer Partners

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jan 11, 2017

ADI is battling their manufacturer partners, building up their own competitive house brand W-Box, while manufacturers still fund ADI's business through heavy marketing expenditures.

In this note, we examine what ADI is doing, how manufacturers are largely trapped (based on conversations with numerous partners) and the long term risk of this approach.

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Comments (16)

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the W-Box OEM'd by HikVision? If so it's a win/win for them. ADI is one of Hik's largest distributors in the US (if not the largest), so increasing sales of W-box only aides Hik in their quest to dominate the US camera market. The Axis, Sony, Arecont, etc of the world should take sales of the W-box as a threat to their business and work to shift their product sales to distributors who value true partnership over low cost trunk-slammer type sales.

#1, The IP products are definitely OEM'd by Hikvision. We have covered this ADI's W Box Tested and ADI Finally Fixes Hikvision OEM'd Security Risk. We believe the HD analog are as well but have not tested / checked them yet.

To the extent that Hikvision makes some money from this, they are less hurt than the others. However, it still is at odds to Hikvision's greater goal of building their own brand and paying for their large sales and marketing team they have in place to sell their own branded products.

As for what the manufacturers will or should do, I am not sure. Most manufacturers (in North America) seem to care more about ADI than any other distributor.

We have to remember what the acronym ADI stands for: Ademco Distribution, Inc - It began as an alarm distribution company, and essentially remains that - their core focus appears to be on burglar/fire alarms and home automation/home AV. In other words, the "alarm guys", not the "integration guys".

As the security industry morphed, the "integration" concept for commercial and large installations was born and it favors very high performance software and hardware that there simply is [generally] no demand for as part of the typical RMR alarm monitoring contract. ADI supplies both sectors of the security industry, but it is looking like they have chosen the fork in the road and are sticking with their roots.

My best guess is that this would open up an opportunity for Anixter's Tri-Ed branches to fill the role of the Integration supplier.

Either way it will be interesting to see how it shakes out.

I don't know about all W-Box products being less then competitors because I had to run in to ADI yesterday to pick up a HDMI splitter. I found both a W-Box and Vanco splitter. I was quite surprised after a price check on both. I really thought the W-Box would beat out Vanco but it was quite the opposite. I think the Vanco was roughly $10 less then the W-Box.

#2, thanks. We have not looked at splitters. Our focus is on cameras and recorders, where W-Box is almost always less than even low cost branded options.

From a small manufacturer, posted on LinkedIn:

In the past severall ADI Employees said the following thing to me;

If you can't beat them join them.

It's all OEM! They just arrange bids towards different manufacturers and the winner gets the order.

I'm wondering if these products are also sold to the US Government. Do you know anything about that John? Hikvision banned so just let them sell the same stuff under a different brand. I'm curious about that.

We've used a few wbox products, mostly monitors, TVs, HDMI extenders, relays, high gain antennas and other small components. We've for the most part found they're reliable. I realize this might be bad for manufacturers, but this is good for us. Simple components that are good quality, less expensive and have a good warranty is great! If we have something go bad, we exchange over the counter no problem. Other than I think one power supply we haven't had anything go bad. We have used dozens of monitors and TV with no issues that I can remember. I hope they continue to expand and improve the line. I would like to see some better cameras and readers for access control. I refered them to the manufacturer we currently use for readers.

Hasn't ADI been competing against the manufacturer partners for years with Ademco alarm systems and Honeywell Video/Access/Intrusion/Fire? I would think that their partners would be used to it by now. The article indicates many valid risks for both ADI and it's partners especially the potential for revenues lost due to closed or weakening businesses.

ADI had do go down this road to compete with companies like Eastern, Unix, TS Micro, and the plethora of smaller companies like this, or so they felt. My experience with other distributors like CSC, Anixter, Graybar, and Scansource is their inside and outside sales staff do a great job partnering with both integrators and manufacturers to drive demand, network, and design solutions. ADI is falling farther and farther from this ecosystem and I think eventually they will become a flea market in the eyes of the professional, if they continue to model a supermarket.

Manufacturer best distribution partners help provide value to their product, they don't come up with excuses and place blame. ADI will be the flea market (and Honeywell store) of distribution as they lose the trust of the sales channel and competitors are merging and growing around them, prioritizing security sales initiatives and forming stronger relationships with manufacturers.

When an integrator asks me, "who should I buy from?", I would be stupid and disingenuous to ever suggest a distributor that sells on low price, competes with me, and does nothing to offer value to my product.

When will IPVM add wbox cameras to camera finder?

Correction: I see ADI IP cameras, but no TVI.

U4, Yes they are listed as ADI in there now. We will update those to WBOX to be more clear. It looks like we are missing ~10 or so cameras that we will add. This will all be done by tomorrow.

U4, This was completed last night - please let us know how else we can help.

Thanks John!

The scenario described in this topic was set in motion many years ago. In effect, the manufacturers "surrendered" to distributors like ADI, Graybar, Northern Video, and reaped short term benefits from their strategy. The benefit was a lower cost of sales. Lower cost was achieved by squeezing their existing sales teams - lower commissions to sales agencies representing their products, dumbing down of their sales force, which essentially allowed distributor's such as ADI - to be in the position to control their sales channel. Today, the manufacturers who made these decisions are in a bad position.

Manufacturers who didn't make these decisions are in a much stronger position - Avigilon Genetec S2 Lenel AMAG aren't slaves to their competition.

Agree ?

NOTICE: This comment has been moved to its own discussion: Avigilon, Genetec, S2, Lenel, AMAG Aren't Slaves To Their Competition

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