I recently became aware of the fact that Vanco, the Chicago-based manufacturer of a broad range of mostly accessory products had decided to become a master distributor for a product category that we all need, we all use, and yet to which we pay little attention. It is in this reality, Vanco’s President Mark Corbin tells me, that there lies a tremendous opportunity to better serve our customers and to add meaningful profit to our financials.
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So what first brought my attention to this story was that Vanco – a diversified manufacturer of products sold to integrators through custom distribution – had become a master distributor for a brand with which I was unfamiliar. My first thought was, why would a manufacturer want to distribute another brand they don’t own?
I know, there have been some select examples from the past of this happening and it is not a totally unheard-of tactic. But most manufacturers are too focused on their own products to consider spending time distributing someone else’s. But in a telephone conversation with Mark Corbin this week, within about two minutes, I understood why Vanco took this step.
Vanco Becomes a Master Distributor for Procell
So let’s end the mystery – Vanco is the U.S. master distributor for a line of professional-grade batteries from Duracell called Procell. Batteries?!?! Who wants to deal with this low-dollar item? Hold on, keep reading to see the logic behind the idea. Let’s first start with this:
Corbin told me that up until this point in time, no one has really offered any kind of strategic wholesale battery program to the residential, commercial, and security integration pros. So where are batteries obtained by the client or the integrator on a service call? Mostly these are purchased locally in gas stations, grocery stores, drug stores, and mass merchant retailers such as Wal-Mart or Costco. Some integrators carry a small number of general-purpose batteries for these situations.
A Large Category with No Plan; Now Vanco & Procell Have a Plan
But almost no one has a thought-out, strategic merchandising strategy to assort and sell a robust battery category.
Yet there are two ironies that this situation reveals. First, Corbin maintains, more and more products that customers use – and that we sell them – require batteries. “When you consider all the door locks, cameras, window sensors, motion detectors, and more that we are selling – those things all require disposable batteries,” Corbin said. Someday, they will need to be replaced, and whether that is done by the customer or the integrator, they will most likely be replaced with general-purpose, cheap batteries.
The second irony is this: How would you feel about this battery situation if you were to discover that there is a professional-grade battery solution that could be made available to your customer? Not only that, but this pro-grade battery is available in two performance grades so that it can be optimized for the device load requirement offering longer life, better performance, and is only available through a professional integrator? An integrator who, in the process of better serving the needs of his customer, can at the same time earn a healthy profit in the process.
Once a Cost, Now A New Profit Center for Our Industry
This all-new profit opportunity is what Procell offers. And thanks to this new program from Vanco for distributors, this is what integrators can now quickly, easily, and profitably obtain from their favorite custom distributor to expand their own product assortment into a much-needed battery line for their customers.
One of the keys to Procell’s performance is that they offer two levels of power cells – Procell Professional Akaline for normal-drain devices; and Procell Intense which is specifically engineered for high-drain devices. What are high-drain devices? Think power door locks, motorized blinds in residential applications; and electronic door locks, paper towel dispensers, sanitizer dispensers, blood pressure monitors, etc. in commercial applications.
Power Solutions Designed for the Device
If you use a normal or general battery in a high-drain application, it will perform poorly and run out of power way earlier than if you use a battery designed for that high-drain application. Procell claims their Intense line offers at least 30% greater longevity as compared to a normal battery (even their own regular Alkaline line). (See more on Procell’s Intense battery line by clicking here…)
On the other hand, their Procell Alkaline line is optimized for things such as smoke detectors, remote controls, alarm panels on the residential side; and flush valves, two-way radios, glucometers, thermometers on the commercial side. By optimizing the battery for the application you ensure the best performance and longevity for your clients – and improving their satisfaction by taking care of it for them. (See more on Procell Alkaline batteries by clicking here…)
Another cool thing is that a lot of [Procell] batteries are actually made here in the United States. So the whole supply chain issue has not been a big problem [for Procell]. You know batteries, like just about every other category, have taken a big hit from supply chain issues, but Procell doesn’t rely on China for all of their inventory.”Mark Corbin
Distributors are Embracing the Program
Corbin tells me that since they launched this program to help distributors more strategically address the large and growing battery category, the pickup has been much better than he expected. Generally, when first approached with the concept of purchasing better batteries on a wholesale basis to offer integrators, distributors move quickly from, “I never thought of that” to “This makes so much sense,” in just a matter of minutes.
Learn more about Vanco’s Procell products by visiting: vanco1.com/procell.
Or if you’d like to do a real deep dive on Procell batteries, check out: procell.com/us.