Helping Integrators Tackle the Efficiency Dilemma

Considering project-bid deadlines, cost-file updates, rebates and other day-to-day challenges that integrators face.

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The AV industry is synonymous with many powerful words: innovative, intuitive, futuristic and tactile. Yet, it’s also plagued by a less-favorable phrase: efficiency dilemma. Despite being a problem-solver for so many businesses, the AV industry has its own obstacles to overcome.

“Common problems include missed deadlines on project bids, outdated cost files, issues processing bid registrations and missed opportunities with annual rebate programs,” says Elle Aviv, a co-founder of women-led Stat AV, a company that seeks to reimagine the AV industry. “Working with integration companies, we have witnessed time and time again the challenges in finding the solution to these common issues,” she adds. “But, by implementing processes, we can solve many of these issues.”

One of the more common mishaps is failing to register projects and missing project bid deadlines. Multiple contributing factors can lead to that issue: bringing the integrator into the process on short notice or setting unrealistic expectations for the integrator; a project already having been registered with the vendor; or the integrator not having the dedicated team to process project bids in a timely manner.

Listen: AV Project Bidding Tips: Episode 141 of AV+

“Even if there is a dedicated team, it’s important to ask if they have the individual vendor criteria and resources to successfully execute the request in a timely manner,” Aviv explains. “We see mistakes occurring because integrators are managing multiple projects at once.” Project bids typically consist of multiple vendor lines, she continues, and not all vendors offer project registrations. “Or product lines must be sourced through distribution, which can extend the process,” Aviv adds.

Integrators Must Tend to Project-Bid Deadlines

Meeting project-bid deadlines is a crucial step to winning future bids. “It’s essential to create specific processes, gather the required vendor information and staff a team capable of executing,” Aviv explains. And if you’re short-staffed, then consider outsourcing to an expert company that can accomplish the goal more cost-effectively than hiring permanent employees would be.

Another dilemma that integrators face is keeping cost files up to date — a fundamental step in keeping the process of quoting and processing orders efficient. Incorrect costs can cause a domino effect of delays or, worse still, losing a project. Correct cost files are a staple in the integrator’s day-to-day, but they’re often overlooked. Perhaps an employee is juggling multiple responsibilities, and they’re unable to prioritize updating costs when received. Here’s an example: A purchaser sends off a purchase order and receives updated costs. They update the cost for that specific order, but they don’t input the new cost into the system, which delays future orders.

“Current costs are a key component in delivering excellent service, [getting] timely responses, making customers happy and winning new business,” Aviv says. Cost updates need to be a top priority. One solution is for the integrator to create relationships with vendors. “Have a go-to representative who can provide cost files as they change,” she advises. Alternatively, Aviv adds, consider sourcing a third party who acts as an extension to your company to bridge the gap.

Taking Advantage of Rebate Programs

The last issue that often hurts integrators is not taking advantage of vendors’ annual rebate programs. No one wants to leave money on the table; thus, integrators must ask vendors the right questions about the benefits of partnering with them. A specialized team should know all the rebates that vendors offer across the board, keep vendor information up to date, track the numbers and assist the company in pivoting — when possible — to stay on target and meet the vendor’s rebate criteria.

“Like all industries, the AV industry presents its share of obstacles,” Aviv observes. “But, by implementing processes that allow the integrator to be proactive rather than reactive, these obstacles become manageable.” She concludes, “The result is positive returns.”

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