Toshiba to Close Three Chip Plants as Demand Slacks for TVs & PCs

Toshiba Logo<November 30, 2011> Toshiba Corporation said today in Tokyo that it will close three of its six factories in Japan producing so-called discrete or single-function chips which are widely used in the electronics business. A very competitive part of the chip business, Toshiba has struggled to maintain profits in this division as competitors such as Samsung put downward pressure on the pricing – and profits – for these chips. Continue reading

Pioneer, Pummeled by Problems, Reveals Revised Recovery Plans

Pioneer Logo<November 30, 2011> On Tuesday, Pioneer Corporation released its revised medium-term business plan designed to rebuild their sales and profits after a tough year of environmental and economic challenges including earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan and Thailand, as well as a global economic slowdown. The company also revised its forecast for the results of the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2012 showing a slightly better outcome than the last revised guidance offered. Continue reading

B&W Announces Retirement of Chris Browder

B&W's Chris Browder Retires

Chris Browder

<November 30, 2011> Bowers & Wilkins, a British manufacturer of loudspeakers sold in the U.S. as well as around the world, announced this Monday that longtime Executive Vice President of B&W North America Chris Browder will be retiring at the end of this year. Browder has been with B&W for 25 years and was part of the team that built their business here in America. Continue reading

Blaupunkt, Under New Ownership, is Back in the U.S. with Car Audio & Headphones

Blaupunkt Website<November 30, 2011> Blaupunkt AudioVision GmbH & Co. KG (Blaupunkt) announced earlier this week that it was re-entering the U.S. market with a line of car audio products and – in a bit of a return to its roots – a line of in-ear and over-ear headphones. But what has not been widely reported is that Blaupunkt is also under new ownership, now under the control of German equity group Aurelius AG based in Gruenwald, Germany. Continue reading

Velodyne Vaults into Direct-to-Consumer Sales Leaving Sales Reps Behind

Velodyne Logo<August 2, 2011> Velodyne Acoustics, Inc. (Velodyne) surprised many in the industry last week by summarily dismissing their independent sales representative force and announcing that they would begin selling Velodyne subwoofers direct to consumers via a new online ecommerce website. The webstore was already open by the time some of the sales representatives received their termination notice. Continue reading

Lenbrook President & CEO Miller: On a Mad Mission? Or Simply Misunderstood?

Lenbrook website<June 1, 2011> Lenbrook America Corporation President and CEO Dean Miller began with an apology. In a May 20th email communication with BEACON editor Ted Green, Miller apologized for his lack of responsiveness, saying that until he read last month’s BEACON he was unaware that attempts had been made by its editors to contact him. Miller, it seems, was on an aggressive two-week spin through Europe to attend a Tivoli event in Italy, a Munich high-end show in Germany, and finally a Lenbrook International distributor show.

See more on our interview with Lenbrook’s Dean Miller… Continue reading

IPRO Prez to the ALERT: Reps Reconceived Remain Really Relevant

IPRO2<May 18, 2011> Shortly after a story appeared in last week’s BEACON about Lenbrook’s decision to terminate its national independent sales force and transition to a direct sales model, we were contacted by David Humphries, president of IPRO, the nation’s most prominent organization of independent sales representatives. Humphries shared with us the organization’s perspective on the Lenbrook decision and the role of the independent rep in today’s industry.

A strong proponent… Continue reading

Have Tech Industry Trends Rendered Reps Irrelevant?

Photo from show floor<May 18, 2011> The specialty segment is still buzzing about the decision by Lenbrook earlier this month to hire Dean Miller and terminate their entire U.S. sales force of independent sales representatives. The story, originally run last week in the BEACON, [ See: Lenbrook Lunacy? Or Crazy Like a Fox? Market Reacts to Recent Moves ] caused an explosion of email messages and telephone calls to the ALERT’s offices and there appears to be no shortage of comments…except from Lenbrook America, who has not yet returned multiple messages left by the ALERT’s editor.

Distress and dire predictions pour in… Continue reading

Lenbrook Lunacy? Or Crazy Like a Fox? Market Reacts to Recent Moves

Lenbrook websiteOne Rep Stands Up for Specialty

<May 12, 2011> The specialty market is reacting to the announcement last week that Lenbrook America has hired Dean Miller as President/CEO and will dismiss its sales representative network, its sales manager, and take the sales process direct hiring regional sales managers. And at least one of the affected representatives, Peter Dyroff of Jarmac, went public with his reaction, sending a letter to all Jarmac dealers that has virtually gone “viral” throughout the specialty industry.

The specialty formula…

Continue reading

Russound Pulls the Plug on Colorado vNet

Colorado Town Council Plans Lawsuit

Russound Logo<December 29, 2010> In a move that will not surprise many in the industry, Russound has decided to close Colorado vNet fourteen months after purchasing it in October 2009. The move appears to be related to a breakdown in negotiations with the town of Loveland, Colorado which had provided the company’s previous owners with $900,000 in incentives to move operations there…and had renegotiated a $500,000 deal with new owner Russound. Continue reading