Vector national accounts takes aim at ADT

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

PITTSBURGH—Taking market share from ADT is at the top of the to-do list for industry veteran Gary Fraser who joined Vector Security two weeks ago as Director of North American Sales for Vector’s National Accounts Division.

“It’s my goal to take Vector and make it the predominant number three player in the EAS [Electronic Article Surveillance—a wireless tagging technology used in retail settings] industry,” Fraser told Security Systems News.

Currently, Vector is the fourth largest national accounts division, said Joe English, VP/GM for Vector’s National Accounts Division. “There’s ADT, Checkpoint, Stanley, and us,” said English, who started the national accounts business for Vector in 1992.

He estimated that ADT owns about 50-55 percent, Checkpoint has 20-25 percent market and the remaining 25 percent is split among five or six players.

“The market is re-aligning and they do want a [strong] third player out there,” Fraser said. Fraser, who previously worked for ADT, Sensormatic and WG Security Products, has 23 years’ experience working on the EAS side of the business. He explains there are two predominant EAS technologies: RF, which Checkpoint uses, and AM which ADT uses.

“Those two are not compatible, we have AM and we have more opportunity,” he noted. “All of our systems that Vector has are compatible with ADT retail customers. That is one target market, ADT’s existing account base for EAS.”

How does one compete with a giant like ADT? It would be difficult to compete on price or product, he said, “What differentiates us is how we deliver from a service and installation standpoint. That’s what Vector is known for,” Fraser said.

He explained the Manassas, Va. office is the main hub for national accounts business. It also has “operations people in remote offices around the country. What’s different is that they are national accounts offices [called SpaRPoint offices] as opposed to company branches. We don’t rely on branches to do national accounts work.”

Vector has four StaRPoint offices, which house regional installation managers, project managers and project coordinators. These offices stay in close touch with a network of more than 500 Technical Service Partners (TSP). Fraser emphasized the StaRPoint employees work very closely with the TSPs. “They’re an extension of our employees,” he said. With regard to product and procedural training, Vector is particularly good at “keeping everyone current with the newest technology we are offering.”

What kinds of goals does Fraser have in mind? “We’re coming off a very good year,” he said.

Vector did about $75 million in national accounts work in 2010, according to English. It has increased “a couple million annually from 2007 to 2009 … and had a much better than anticipated 2009,” with a $6 million increase. He attributes this performance to Vector’s mix of retail customers. “We have everything from high-end retail to discount retail, so when the economy thrives we do very well and when it doesn’t thrive we also do very well,” he said.

Vector’s national accounts business is 90-95 percent retail oriented. Will that change? Not substantially, at least in the near term, Fraser said. “However, if opportunities come our way, we’ll evaluate them.”