By Patrick McCarthy
Surrounded by partners, industry peers, and a few fellow CEDIA executives, Access Networks cut the ribbon for their Easton, Pennsylvania location last night hitting a milestone that CEO Hagai Feiner still can’t believe materialized.
“It’s been awesome just getting to the finish line,” said Feiner. “We wanted to come here, not just buy a warehouse, but actually be here and be as different as we are. This building is a statement to that.”
Just a few hours between both New York and Philadelphia, Easton was a crucial spot for the California-based Access Networks to continue their meteoric success. But the location was more than just a strategic maneuver; it was to build on the many principles that have brought them so much success.
An East-coast headquarters means “one or two” day shipping is not only possible, it is nearly a guarantee. Early hours mean more support across any timezone. A sprawling main floor transforms from a traditional meeting space to a testing workshop lined with Middle Atlantic Products outlets and ethernet outlets. The third floor hosts a handful of bedrooms that branch off a living room flanked by two Meridian Special Edition DS8000’s and a fully-loaded kitchen. That home base was necessary for engineers, staff, and custom programmers visiting the area, notes Chief Sales Officer Bryce Nordstrand, as their services are just as important as the products they sell.
“It’s a huge benefit to all of our partners because now we are readily available with one or two day shipping times. Our hours are more in sync with their business which has always been a problem because people are in the field by the time we are still heading to the office,” Nordstrand said. “The level of expertise that we can provide to an integrator is not available by anybody else in the channel.”
The duality of success for Access Networks seems to be in a state of flux that they are continually benefiting from. On the one hand, they acknowledge that a significant portion of their revenue comes from selling products. On the other hand, their white-glove service as IT professionals have made them not only one of the most profitable businesses in the industry but the most profitable in America.
“We fill a void,” said Feiner. “We created a team of engineers that work with the client as if they were their IT department. That doesn’t exist anywhere else especially at the level of certification that our team has. We have CCIE engineers in-house. Most integrators don’t have that type of firepower. We give them the ability to outsource their problems because we understand their business.”
And Feiner’s self-awareness of that flux is paying off. As an engineering company that is able to interface with manufacturers and integrators, Access Networks has been on the edge of many of the industries next transitions. Currently, Feiner and his team hang their hat on stress testing Video-distribution-over-IP for “most of the manufacturers in the channel on our systems.” That means when a problem arises, they have the answers.
“When people call with a problem, we have the answers because we know how it all works,” said Feiner. “Creating that type of team, with this level of knowledge, goes far beyond supporting our own products, but supporting everyone else’s product as well. That’s what created our success.”
In the long run, Access Networks hopes to build on that level of customer service for integrators and manufacturers alike. The next batch of branded products – albeit with the help of Rukus – will push the channel into a line of recurring revenues that Feiner sees “as a necessity for us, a necessity for the integrator, and its a necessity for the homeowner.”
As a final reflection on the grand opening, Feiner says that he wouldn’t be where is without his team. That statement is not only echoed by Nordstrand, who has seen first hand the engineers who are committed to “fixing a problem, not just waiting for a software update,” but has also resonated with CEDIA Chairperson Elect, David Humphries.
“What they are doing differently is they are taking care of their customers. It’s all about customer service to their quality products,” Humphries said. “This new building is proof that if you always look at the customer first, everything will follow suit.”
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