Looking forward for business

Looking Forward for Business

Security horizon has bountiful outlook

Looking forward for businessIn the world of product distribution, Tri-Ed Distribution means business. In fact, President and CEO Pat Comunale is so excited about the security industry’s future, he plans to bring five, recently-acquired, data solutions centers into the security vertical.

Tri-Ed Distribution continues its expansion in North America by adding new branches in Denver, Centennial, Grand Junction and Colorado Springs, Colo., and a branch in Little Rock, Ark. These facilities will specialize as Tri- Ed data solutions centers and stock a complete line of connectivity and lowvoltage products.

“We’re very fortunate to partner with such a fine private equity group in Audax,” Comunale said. “They have a buy-and-build strategy, which is how we are growing, strong and steady. Once we integrate security products in our new locations, the Tri-Ed model is to ensure that high-end products are available to the integrator.”

Getting in the Game

Since being acquired from Tyco in 2005, with 25 locations and a moderate revenue sheet, Tri-Ed currently has more than 60 locations, with more on the way, which has increased revenue six fold. The company is going to grow more this year as they open locations in Nashville, Tenn., Pittsburgh, Pa., Detroit, Mich., Cincinnati, Ohio and Raleigh, N.C.

Along with the distribution centers, Tri-Ed has aligned itself with com- Cables, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tri-Ed, located in Colorado. As a structured cabling solutions manufacturer, comCables markets a network infrastructure for telecom rooms, wiring closets, cable, communication outlets and interconnect cables for copper and fiber optic applications.

“Our alignment with comCables is that we’re a good customer of theirs,” Comunale said.

“Gradually, we will roll out the comCable model to the entire United States. Our partnership will allow comCables to expand its national sales through our extensive distribution network. And, Tri-Ed Distribution can now provide customers a complete line of connectivity products, making us the onestop- shop of choice for all their IP installation needs.”

Comunale mentioned that the company is also anticipating a couple more acquisitions before the end of the year, because there are a lot of smaller distributors who find it difficult to get high-end products right now, complicating the transition from analog to IP.

According to Comunale, the goal of Tri-Ed Distribution is to be one of the few players that go end-to-end in their product lineup. He said that while the migration to IP is slow, it is taking place, and they want to be the wholesaler of choice when it comes to high-end, IP, video products. The target is to make it easier for the integrator to install better products and technology.

Helping Dealers

When it comes to business, helping dealers and integrators is an integral part of the process for Tri-Ed.

“Our business model includes technology and the ability to help dealers understand what works best in a given situation,” Comunale said. “Not only the best technology, but providing a layout end-to-end. We also want to make sure the products they choose will integrate with each other and that they are preprogramed for the site.”

“We want to make sure the equipment is in plug-and-play mode, that dealers are able to upgrade DVR storage (hard drives) and that they have the right switches and router.”

Business is Booming

Whether it is technology or equipment flying off the warehouse shelves, Tri- Ed takes education to a higher level in the security industry with the roadshow business, training as many as 4,000 dealers in 2012. They expect to exceed that number this year, as they crisscross North America with training sessions.

“Our goal is to help speed up the transition from analog to IP, and we do this with roadshows,” Comunale said. “Our trainers and experts will be in Dallas on Sept. 12, and back in New York on Oct. 16. We close out the year with a roadshow in Southern California on Nov. 13.”

The Tri-Ed roadshow concept is not business as usual. The company has plenty of security product experts of their own, but many of the bigger manufacturers also send technical experts to explain and demonstrate their products. In fact, four of five intrusion product manufacturers attend the roadshow, and many high-end product manufacturers also bring technical advisors.

Dealers and integrators appreciate Tri-Ed’s willingness to train and teach the technological nuances that make the security industry high tech.

Whether building by corporate talent or acquisition, Tri-Ed is growing through a buy-and-build strategy. It seems to be working. No longer is the company in New York considered a small or regional player. Comunale calls his growth pattern a “logical solution” in the business world.

This article originally appeared in the August 2013 issue of Security Today.

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.

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