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Contractor’s Corner: Contractor Talks Value-Added vs. Price

By Jim Williams

For this latest installment of Contractor’s Corner we travel back out to the Mile High area to talk with David Jensen, Branch Operations Manager, Rocky Mountains, for North American Video (NAV), Integrated Security Technology.

David was on a project site, but took time to talk with us about his point of view on the contractor/distributor relationship.

tED: Describe what works and doesn’t work for you in this kind of relationship.

Jensen: For me it’s face to face. I come from the old school. If I am going to do business with somebody I want to be able to meet face to face with him or her. It’s not always based on price. The added value goes further than price point. For example, I utilize Anixter because of their value-added services for cameras, engineering services and other services they offer including bringing us in on new opportunities. If I have a large quantity of cameras, the last thing I want to do is pay one of my guys to program IP addresses in the cameras. So my distributors (including Anixter, CSC and one other) do this as well. So they will go ahead and enter all of the IP addresses for my cameras and put the labels on the box so when it comes to installing that camera, all my tech needs to do is go to the map and see the IP address, pull the box and put it in. Anixter recently acquired Clark Security so if I need keys made or lock services they will do that as well.

Other distributors have portals out there that will actually do the legwork for you and look for those opportunities. CSC and Anixter do it. If you drive past a property site and you see a project management sign and you want to know everything about that property and who is running it, they will run it down for you. That is very important for new business. Other distribution outlets in the security distribution point, just boast about how competitive they are and free freight on their commodity. So for me, it’s based on relationships and added value!

tED: Do you have a story about someone going above and beyond the traditional distributor relationship?

Jensen: The inside sales people at Anixter do an outstanding job of running things down. Specifically, Jeff Davis out of the Denver office. He has an unbelievable customer service skill set. He responds back to you in milliseconds. They over serve, over serve, over serve. They are phenomenal. I needed their engineering service on a particular project and they rearranged their schedule and came out and worked the project with me, specified the product even though I had a pretty good idea what I was going to use, but they specified some products and alternatives which led to some valued engineering. I went back to the customer with the alternative and won! They added to our value for the end user.

tED: What would it take for a new distributor to get in front of you?

Jensen: More and more distributors are trying to get into the security line, or the low voltage line, because it is a natural vertical for them. Recently, we had a distributor come in who brought a factory person in to explain what they had. This particular product was a camera manufacturer. They in turn sent me a couple of cameras to do a shoot out with. It’s more how that salesperson, or that company, can ease my pain. As you know, we run hard every day servicing our customers, and so you need a person who is committed to serve your organization and ease your pain.

tED: How many different distributors do you work with?

Jensen:  NAV has some established relationships with manufacturers and also with distribution which is a good mix as in the Security Integration Market, many product solutions either are dealer direct or through handpicked distribution outlets. In the Rocky Mountain Region, I deal with mainly four different distribution outlets, For example, Panasonic cameras have a certain list of distributors. Axis has their distribution units as well. Where it’s not specified product specific, we have an opportunity to find the best solution for the customer.


NAV delivers world class integrated security solutions to industry leaders in a number of markets, including gaming, education, government, healthcare, airports/ports and homeland security to name a few.

From analysis, system design and implementation through training and project management, NAV is fully committed to serving their clients at every stage of the process. Their customer support continues after the sale, with preventive maintenance, software support and more. All this helps to provide you with a security system with world-class performance at a competitive possible total cost of ownership.

NAV’s website touts them as being the national company that’s right in your neighborhood. Big enough to serve all of their customers but small enough to respond quickly to your needs, NAV is your partner now and into the future.

David is extremely active in IEC and has been putting on lunch and learns for membership as well as third and fourth year apprentice students going through the apprentice program at IEC. According to Jensen, IP Video and Low Voltage Security are now part of the curriculum at IEC Rocky Mountain (IECRM). “Lunch and learns are a great thing,” adds Jensen. “The more you can help others get to the top of the hill, the closer you get there yourself.”

To find out more about NAV please visit their website.

If you know of a contractor that is worthy of taking up this corner for future articles, please contact Jim Williams at (314) 425-9010 or forward your suggestion on to him at jwilli12@att.net.

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