Established in 1985, U.K.-based CCTV Center is the largest and only accredited Panasonic Systems Distributor in Europe. The company was a general distributor of 30 different brands before specializing in single-brand distribution for Panasonic in 2005.
Video surveillance matured in the early 2000s as the industry was inundated with thousands of brands and distributors, commented Tim Cocks, Director of CCTV Center. Over time, operating costs increased and it was no longer practical for CCTV Center to carry dozens of brands. In addition to financial strains, it may be difficult for general distributors to gain brand or product expertise. Single-brand distributors, Cocks stressed, provide better service and faster response. "To be a good distributor, several criteria have to be fulfilled," said Cocks. "We must have a good price structure, large stock holdings across the product range and good knowledge of system building (with Panasonic and third-party complementary products) to provide integrated solutions."
Panasonic accounts for 80 percent of the products CCTV Center distributes.
Other specialized goods like housings, lighting and lenses make up for its remainder. The company has also invested in demonstration facilities to train installers. "We train our customers to work with Panasonic, but what happens when the end user needs a special lens? What if the installer wants to put the camera in a special housing or bracket? Does fiber-optic work better for a particular installation? These are issues where we help our customers on a daily basis."
Choosing Panasonic as the sole brand was not a complicated decision. "Panasonic has led the industry for 50 years," pointed out Cocks. When it first started representing only Panasonic, CCTV Center lost 10 percent of its revenue. Within three months, however, its business was growing at an impressive annual rate of 50 percent for the past three years.
Cocks cautioned that a single-brand distribution model can be risky if the relationship between the manufacturer and distributor is not solid. Cocks stated that there needs to be mutual confidence. "Some say you never know who is in charge or what internal decisions and business directions have been made. We, however, are protected as an accredited Panasonic distributor. We have a detailed agreement with Panasonic that covers extensive areas."
CCTV Center is the first company in the world to be appointed Panasonic Systems Distributor (PSD). The scheme was launched in 2006 to provide an accredited trade channel for Panasonic CCTV equipment. Entry requirements are stringent and the PSD must be able to supply full Panasonic systems as well as holding stock across the full range of products.
Designated PSD staff members are fully trained to provide pre-sales and post-sales support. CCTV Center distinguishes itself from other multi-brand, multiproduct distributors. General distributors sign different purchase agreements. "Our accreditation allows us to buy at a certain level," Cocks said. "We are positioned at the top of the distributor tree."