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Back to Basics
Security equipment repair company gives products a second chance

By Michelle Bowles

Giving used security products new life is everyday business for Audio Video Systems Inc., a CCTV and
industrial video repair specialist located in West Palm Beach, Fla. For nearly 24 years, the company has been providing warranty and non-warranty repairs on products ranging from cameras, monitors and lenses, to time-lapse VCRs and pan/tilt controllers.

A mom-and-pop shop in the literal sense, AVS was founded in 1981 by industry veteran Robert “Bob” Ingui — who passed away earlier this year — and was recently taken over by Ingui’s daughter Angela Barnard, now vice president of the company. Barnard’s mother, Rosemarie Ingui, acts as president, handling all administrative tasks of the company.

AVS is a factory-authorized repair facility for all models of industrial CCTV equipment manufactured by Bosch, Gyyr, JVC, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Philips, Sanyo and Vicon. To become certified, a repair firm must work with the manufacturer to provide information on its technicians, its available test equipment and its financial statements. In many cases, the repair company’s technicians must complete additional training courses through the manufacturer.

Additionally, AVS regularly services non-warranty equipment manufactured by a number of other companies.

New Roadblocks

In an industry that moves a mile a minute, things are certain to change for security equipment repair
businesses as time goes by. But as the security industry continues to evolve, repair businesses are having to overcome some significant hurdles.

In years past, businesses like AVS kept their backroom shelves stacked with time-lapse VCRs needing repair, Barnard said. With equipment getting cheaper and easier to produce, however, many end users are finding it more convenient to simply toss out the ineffective system and purchase a new one. Nowadays, end users don’t send broken VCRs to be fixed; they go out and buy new ones, she said. As the security world moves to digital, repair companies are turning their focus to new products.

“With equipment getting
cheaper and easier to
produce, however,
many end users are
finding it more
convenient to simply
toss out the ineffective
system and purchase a
new one.”

Instead of time-lapse VCRs, AVS now sees a large number of PTZ cameras needing repair, Barnard said. Increasingly, security companies are consolidating and are beginning to offer an entire package for the end user, including onsite installation and their own branded products. This in turn, Barnard said, has taken away some business from independent repair companies. “We’re losing lots of the smaller guys,” she said. “It has a trickle-down effect for us.” Many manufacturers also are providing their own in-house technical support for customers. In those cases, technical support won’t normally repair the defective equipment; instead, they’ll send new equipment to the end user for the sake of convenience.

Making Changes

All of these hurdles combined are forcing the independent repair industry to rethink the services it offers and brainstorm new ways to operate. “Everyone is trying to see what other types of services they can provide,” Barnard said.

AVS has chosen to broaden the product lines it currently supports and is looking
into servicing other equipment outside of the security market, such as medical
imaging equipment and LCD projectors. The company’s next step is to target end
users without their own security staffs. AVS is now challenged with the task of finding ways to reach this new audience, Barnard said.

Independent repair specialists also must find new ways to market themselves. AVS relies greatly on the manufacturers with which it’s authorized for repairs. Often, these manufacturers suggest AVS to customers for servicing their equipment.
When customers call on AVS, the company lets them know of the other lines it’s able to repair.

AVS also markets itself at industry tradeshows, on its Web site and through direct marketing campaigns. Additionally, the company is a member of the Alarm Association of Florida.

Why Repair It?

But the question remains: Why use an independent service center to repair ineffective equipment?
For AVS, the return rate is very low, Barnard said. Generally, the company offers a three-day turnaround. On top of that, 85 percent of repairs are completed within two hours.

Customers are given free technical support from trained technicians over the telephone. More importantly, the technicians are accessible, Barnard said. Customers are able to talk directly to a technician right away instead of being placed on hold for an indefinite amount of time.

For the benefit of the customer, AVS provides its own warranty on repairs. The company provides services all across the country and even in South America, Canada and the Caribbean.
“If UPS comes to you, we can fix it and send it back,” Barnard said. Is all of that enough to convince customers to turn to a repair specialist when their
equipment fails? Barnard — along with all of the other repair specialists out there — would say it is.

————————

This article originally appeared in the October 2004 issue of Security Products, pg. 10.

Michelle Bowles is the managing editor of Security Products magazine. She can be reached at mbowles@stevenspublishing.com.

© Copyright 2004 Stevens Publishing Corporation
5151 Beltline Road, 10th Floor, Dallas, Texas 75254