The demand for wireless and to be able to connect from anywhere is bringing ‘huge change’ to the New Zealand market, and Connector Systems – a company with its origins in the New Zealand manufacturing scene – is stepping up its offerings to meet those changes Dale Smith, Connector Systems managing director, says.
"We have seen huge changes and I think demand for wireless networking is going to continue,” Smith, who took over the business 18 months ago, says.
"We’ve still got our more traditional brands that we started with – in connections, cabling and fibre – but as we grow we’re also moving more into networking and IT type products.
Smith says when the company started, its main focus was importing cabling and connections for New Zealand’s then substantial onshore manufacturing base. "In the last 10 years that base has gotten smaller and smaller. There are still some good manufacturing companies in New Zealand but they’re getting rare.”
With that in mind the company’s focus has turned to networking and wireless, and telecommunications, debuting a number of new offerings in recent months, while also maintaining a focus on the more traditional market of voice cabling and industrial.
Last year the company acquired Kalooma, a wireless distributor, and Smith says Connector ‘is looking to probably make another acquisition this year’. "We’re not actively out there looking, but we always have our eyes open.”
When it comes to technology offerings, Smith says he’s seeing a trend towards product quality, rather than price, being a key decision point for end purchasers. "We’re seeing more and more emphasis on network quality and redundancy to the point where quality is more important than price.”
He says resellers are increasingly repositioning themselves as specialists in particular technologies, brands or parts of the market. "It’s really very competitive out there for resellers.”
With the emphasis on specialising coming to the fore, Connector Systems says training is now a significant part of its business. The company, which has a purpose built training facility in Mt Wellington, has an internal strategy to grow its training offers for resellers, of which it has an active base of between 350 to 500.
"We run all sorts of courses, very regularly,” Smith notes. "We usually have one or two training sessions a week, across sales, quarterly updates and technology training.
"One of the things we’re trying to do for the reseller channel is offer training so they can upskill people across the technologies they want to bring to their organisation.”
Smith says in the past 12 months the company has also been engaging with customers to understand their expectations and how the company can meet them. He acknowledges that in the past the company’s customer service ‘has not been fantastic, to be fair’. "We understand the need to improve customer service and we’ve appointed a very, very good customer service manager with the experience, knowledge and understanding. We’re also building up our team of call centre people,” he says.
"If you’re very focused on doing a good job, it tends to pay dividends.”