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State Of The Industry: Distributors Are More Important Than Ever Before

Distributors have an opportunity to go beyond being a source for products alone as they support the industry

Dennis Holzer, executive director, PowerHouse Alliance

Over the last year, the custom installation industry has leaned hard into the art of balancing competing demands. While the pandemic brought many obstacles to every business, our channel was tasked with keeping up with record growth and demand.

Home entertainment, networking, displays, and security have surged in the last year and it does not look like we will see a slowdown any time soon. When PowerHouse Alliance distributor members were asked about which categories they expected to grow in 2021, 54% voted for the networking category. With consumers shifting their focus and making upgrades both indoors and out, the industry is sure to hold on to steady growth throughout the remainder of the year.

Looking to Q3 and Q4 of 2021, we are once again faced with a balancing act of continued consumer demand and looming supply chain shortfalls. As a result of the supply chain disruptions that are not only hitting the smart home but manufacturers across industries, product availability is a challenge. With consumer demand for home upgrades continuing to rise, I think shipping delays and chip shortages will result in price increases throughout the industry.

As integrators are reporting a high volume of new customers along with new business from existing customers looking to make home upgrades, distributors are more important than ever before. Across the industry, distributors will need to focus on keeping common products on the shelves for integrators to successfully execute jobs. Distributors within the custom installation industry need to maintain their position as a resource that dealers and integrators can count on for inventory right when it is needed and offer suggestions for product substitutions when necessary.

Some experts estimate supply chain pressure will continue through 2022, and others already see it easing, I personally think we’re far from out of the woods. As the industry continues to respond to increased demand and supply issues, distributors have an opportunity to go beyond being a source for products alone and expand their relevance by offering training and educational support to help keep integrators up to speed.

In an effort to support integrators and contribute to industry growth, the PowerHouse Alliance recently announced our partnership with CEDIA to expand the availability of CEDIA’s industry-leading in-person training programs. As a CEDIA Education Partner, the PowerHouse Alliance 11 distributor members will host trainings that will equip technicians with the skills they need to succeed in the industry. This program will bring dealers peace-of-mind knowing that new hires are learning the right protocols and standards to work successfully in the industry.

The custom installation industry is hot, and demand is there. Distributors across the country should embrace their strong position in the industry and do what they can to provide dealers and integrators with the product, training, and resources they need to adapt and succeed.

See also: PowerHouse Alliance, CEDIA Partner To Expand In-Person Training Availability