One year after Anixter’s acquisition of CLARK Security, Locksmith Ledger had the opportunity to interview CLARK Security President Susan Kuruvilla. Following are the Ledger’s questions and Ms. Kuruvilla’s answers.
Would you share your assessment of the Anixter/CLARK merger after the first year?
The first year of CLARK’s partnership with Anixter has been a remarkable success. In many ways, we are the same leading wholesale distributor of security products and services that locksmiths nationwide have come to rely on for more than 50 years. As always, CLARK is committed to the security professionals we serve. To help meet our customers’ needs, we deliver a broad range of innovative security solutions at a competitive price, including a robust inventory, state-of-the-art technology, training, and knowledgeable sales representatives. Partnering with Anixter, CLARK now offers more products, inventory, education, and expertise than ever before to help locksmiths stay competitive in the ever-evolving security market.
What are additional advantages for locksmiths?
CLARK is leveraging Anixter’s infrastructure and capabilities to develop in ways that will help our customers meet market demand and expand their business.
- Inventory: Combining CLARK’s and Anixter’s inventories, CLARK has become a one-stop shop for a broad range of products, from mechanical hardware to networked-managed video and access control solutions. CLARK’s partnership with Anixter has given it unparalleled access to more than $900 million in inventory, including fiber and copper cabling and connectivity, advanced security products, and related power and networking components. CLARK has also made additional investments to its inventory around the country to continue providing the range of products our customers need. If we don’t have the product, CLARK works to source it quickly.
- Geographic footprint: CLARK is expanding its geographic footprint to service our customers faster. In the last year, CLARK has opened a Safe Depot in Houston, TX, and another location in Atlanta, GA, which enables the company to serve additional same-day markets. Stay tuned for similar expansions in 2012. In addition, CLARK has co-located three facilities with Anixter, including locations in Anaheim, CA, Denver, CO, and Lewisville (Dallas area), TX, which allows us to host larger security and technology training sessions for our customers at each of these locations.
- CLARK Systems Desk: Offering state-of-the-art products and specialized services, CLARK has also been expanding to meet the demand of the access control market. Technical experts at the CLARK Systems Desk design, configure, supply, and support IP addressable access control solutions and can provide level 1 and some level 2 support for PC-based, server-based, wireless (802.11) and Ethernet (802.3) systems. Through the CLARK Systems Desk, customers also have access to Anixter’s security experts who provide expert-level support around IP video surveillance and security cabling. (You can reach the CLARK Systems Desk at 1-800-993-5625.)
- Leading security expertise: Having retained the majority of our sales force over the past year, our customers have access to more than 150 knowledgeable and technically trained representatives who are waiting to provide personalized, expert advice. CLARK is also training its entire sales force around our new product offerings so that each representative can support the technology and solutions that CLARK now offers. We are equally committed to training our customers on these offerings.
- Operations: CLARK has gained operational efficiencies that have freed resources that we can reinvest in even more customer-facing solutions.
What new types of products have been added?
CLARK has been investing in a greater depth of inventory on existing brands tailored to the needs of our customer base. CLARK customers also have access to Anixter’s deep inventory of wire, cable, and data cabling solutions, security products, and related accessories.
For example, CLARK is now offering customers high-quality Bosch video solutions at a competitive price. The Advantage Line by Bosch is an entire suite of products and tools designed to give locksmiths an edge on the competition.
Added Product Categories: Access control (expanded offering), access control cabling, Analog cameras and accessories, Batteries, Data cabling and connectivity, Camera mounts and enclosures, CCTV cables and accessories, Emergency phones, Fiber optic solutions, Fire alarm cable, Intercom and paging systems, Lenses, Low-voltage cabling, Microphones, Monitors, Racks, cabinets, enclosures, and security consoles, Speakers, Surge protection, Video recorders, Wireless transmission systems
To support all our product categories, CLARK provides classes and technical expertise that enable security processionals to meet demand and take full advantage of growth opportunities within the marketplace.
Are Anixter training classes or other sales aids available to locksmiths?
As a partner, CLARK receives access to a variety of Anixter technical solutions, including the Infrastructure Solutions LabSM and Anixter UniversitySM. The Infrastructure Solutions Lab provides product testing and evaluation, and Anixter University offers a tailored curriculum to provide basic understanding of advanced networking applications. CLARK works with Anixter’s security sales specialists and engineers to bring these solutions to locations across the country, providing training at CLARK local branches as well as appearing on the CLARK Regional Expo and Educational Conference class schedule.
Are there any specific ways for locksmiths to be competitive against big box and Internet merchandisers?
The security industry relies on knowledgeable locksmiths to provide the service and solutions that support the vast array of security products available today. Locksmiths who provide quality service, including constructing and designing security solutions, will retain a competitive advantage over big box and Internet merchandisers. As the complexity of security solutions increases, so too will the demand for specialized locksmith services. This is why CLARK is dedicated to offering educational opportunities that enable locksmiths to develop their current security knowledge or expand their business offering.
What advice do you have for locksmiths today in order for them to be best prepared for success in the future?
As the security marketplace constantly changes, so does the variety of ways a company can evolve to take advantage of growth opportunities. CLARK will continue to partner with locksmiths to help them meet the market’s demands and remain competitive. This means CLARK will continuously expand its core offering while also leveraging new technology to deliver innovative security solutions for our customers.
Susan Kuruvilla is President of CLARK Security Products, an Anixter company.