The Backbone of Security

Rob Lydic spends a lot of time traveling around the upper Midwest and Northwest, heralding the needs of security, proper equipment and how dealers can make more money in their own businesses. As a manufacturers’ representative (rep) and president of IP Security Reps (IPSR), Lydic’s daily routine puts him in touch with consultants and end users, who are ultimately the ones with the money to purchase new equipment.

In 2001, Lydic organized a rep firm in the data and security business that mostly touched on the data side. Some very important lessons were learned in the short time he operated the business, which he later sold. His defining attribute was establishing a unique business model for a manufacturer’s rep.

We take the time to truly understand what the unique situation is for each of our customers and then thoroughly and truthfully present the right solution for their situation,” Lydic said. “IPSR is unlike any other manufacturer’s rep firm out there as standard rep firms spend nearly all of their time and efforts marketing to integration and distribution companies. We approach the market in a different manner that requires more training, professionalism and most importantly, a keen sense of listening to end users and consulting engineers.”

By 2010, the focus had shifted and IPSR began to represent a major VMS and camera manufacturer in Michigan and the Midwest. In that first year, IPSR sold $200,000 worth of business. But the following year proved to be a banner year for the company, which now had its first employee. Lydic reported a sales revenue of $6 million, but this also meant a transition from its current product line to an entirely new line of IP cameras. There was growth lurking not far down the road, especially with a few more IP-centric products.

“We look for sales organizations that are extremely results-oriented and dedicated to the security industry,” said Kenichi Mori, director of marketing and product management for Sony Electronics’ Security Systems Division. “It is also important to find firms that employ top-tier talent in each geography they serve.”

During the two-year transition phase, some amazing things happened to IPSR. First, Sony approached the company to take on additional territory outside of the Midwest. This agreement meant that IPSR would now act as a rep in New York and New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Virginia. It was also about this time (December 2013) that Milestone was added to the portfolio. Several other network-centric technologies were added, including Tier 1 manufacturers, such as Razberi Technologies, Isonas, Fluidmesh, Moog Videoalarm, Ideal Industries, Elerts and Commend.

By the end of 2013, sales were booming and IPSR reported more than $45 million in security sales. From the humble beginnings of two employees, including Lydic, IPSR now had 13 employees in the eastern United States. In April, things would change again as Sony was asked to expand into Chicago and other areas of Illinois, making the company the manufacturers’ rep with the largest geographic region. (According to Lydic, this region has more than 103 million people in the area.)

“We have more than enough work to keep us busy in this area,” Lydic said. “However, this is a crowded market space and it is our goal to create market demand for our products with end users and consultants.”

Sales are difficult under any circumstances, but Lydic said that his business plan calls for his staff to go to the end user and sell on technology and value. It also calls for his team to work with consultants and value-oriented integrators.

“The end user is becoming increasingly more aware of the IP security world,” Lydic said. “It is our job to educate and familiarize the end user and consultant with the newest technology our manufacturers have available.”

Lydic travels the Northeast giving quarterly seminars aimed at consultants, distributors and other integrators. His goal is to help them learn how to make more money in the security industry. He also demonstrates cameras, video management, cellular mobility, and how to design large and small systems. Because not all end users research security products, Lydic’s goal is to train others in the industry as to what works best in certain situations. He said that in many situations, those in charge of security issues also have other duties; most of these people are overworked, under-valued and less educated in security-related matters.

By spending a great amount of time with end users and consultants, IPSR has been able to bring unprecedented value to the integrating contractors that purchase and implement the products. These integrators who work with IPSR are regularly brought into the opportunities that are created, and they see their sales and margins increase dramatically. Two very large integrators have scene great success with this model.

Timothy Roddy of GSI in Troy, Mich. also said he enjoys the IPSR relationship, which he said is based on trust. He said this involves a singular focus on the client in their pursuit of delivering the best products and services to the customer.

“Rob is the critical link between us and the manufacturers,” Roddy said. “We are able to gain a better understanding of products and features, so we can more effectively design, present and install them for our end users.”

It is all about partnerships, Lydic said. Delivering value to the customer, and becoming a trusted partner of choice helps form a winning team. Lydic has set up a basic roadmap that not only includes partnerships, but a strong sales team, becoming an industry expert and a commitment to the company’s business model.

This article originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of Security Today.

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