Distributor Roundtable: Just in Time
NEW AGE ELECTRONICS
Fred Towns, President
Our top five product categories are mobile devices (tablets, phablets and unlocked smartphones), audio (ear buds, headphones and speakers), wearables (health/
fitness devices and smartwatches), home automation (connected-home products such as security systems and electronic thermostats) and accessories (anything that complements and/or links to a device).
As an industry-leading distributor, New Age Electronics continues to make products more accessible to retailers through better ways to move, monitor, manage and market their inventory. We ship products from one of our regional warehouses direct from manufacturers to a retail store or consumer’s home. Bypassing retail distribution centers reduces fuel costs and minimizes freight damages and time to customer. New Age Electronics has a value-added service offering around end-of-life/remanufacturing that quickly moves product to get it back on the market with an efficient and non-disruptive approach that helps fully maximize product value.
Bill Stewart, CEO & Founder
We are having tremendous success in the wireless accessories category. This includes cases from brands like Trident and Ballistic, as well as Bluetooth accessories and portable power from brands, like Eton, Parrot and Lenmar.
The headphone category is also very strong and also likely attributable to growth in mobile devices. Monster, Sony and JVC are all very strong brands for us with offerings for every application, from entry-level to top-of-the-market.
As expected, we saw strong sales in the mobile electronics category during the spring and early summer months. Audio products from Pioneer and Power Acoustik, installation accessories from AAMP, alarms and remote starts from Directed Electronics, as well as Whistler’s radar detectors and dash cams have all had an impact.
The outdoor category and our fitness, health and personal care categories have really grown over the past couple of years. Traditional outdoor accessories like two-way radios from Midland and Motorola, or optical accessories like binoculars and trail cams from Bushnell, have been very successful. New offerings in fitness—such as the wearable health and activity trackers introduced by Garmin and LifeTrak—have added even more momentum to this category.
In addition, Magic Chef small appliances have led the way for growth in our expanded home and organization offering. We have added additional small kitchen accessories, as well as a variety of home storage and organization products.
Petra was founded on the principle of delivering premium service and product offerings to independent specialty retailers. Many times these small- to medium-sized retailers find it difficult to reach the sales volumes and order quantities required by manufacturers for direct accounts. Our dealers choose us for our broad product offerings that allow them to diversify their inventories. Selecting the right items from the brands I mentioned above, plus hundreds of other top brands, make it possible for dealers to differentiate their stores to meet the needs of local markets.
Some manufacturers prefer to sell through distribution for many of the same reasons. Our advanced warehouse and logistics systems and ability to get products to retail markets in the shortest possible time are a few reasons why manufacturers choose Petra. Others find value in our ability to drop-ship to end users, a requirement of many of the largest ecommerce retail accounts.
The bottom line is that distribution has always played a key role in the rapidly changing consumer electronics supply chain. Experienced distributors have the ability to react quickly to changing market conditions and serve the needs of both vendors and dealers.
Our top five categories include: residential AV/home theater, IT/networking, security, home automation and light commercial products. The biggest reason for accessibility is distributors stock many categories and products, providing a single source/location for installers/integrators to purchase all of their needs, as opposed to sourcing from many different sources to complete one job.
Next, many of the dealers/integrators who use and install these products do not have traditional brick-and-mortar retail stores.
As a result, many just have small offices, often using our showrooms to bring in their customers for presentation of products and categories, which allows for the viewing all categories and products in a connected environment.
Lastly, many integrators’ jobs require a combination of all categories or products mentioned above.
Because many installers/integrators work job to job, they rely on distribution with local convenient locations to pick up all their product needs, enjoy the convenience of just-in-time inventory, local technical expertise, consistent new product training and lastly and more importantly, only have to purchase the products in the quantities for the job they are presently completing. Vendors don’t have the personnel, the warehousing or the capabilities to perform the value-added services distribution can, and typically, at the same cost, with more efficiency then the factory.