Businesses are beginning to take a healthy interest in developing power continuity strategies, rather than simply protecting individual pieces of equipment. There is a growing opportunity for resellers to increase sales by supplying higher value UPS solutions, upwards of 40,000 for example, in addition to shifting multiple boxes of low-end units. UPS business can be further expanded by offering a collection of value-added products and services on top.
All sectors of commerce and industry are facing the same power protection issues, but customers are more inclined to deal with UPS partners that truly understand their business. The retail industry, for example, has very different needs to a telecoms operator. For both examples, UPS is about protecting assets; particularly those that directly affect revenues, but the ways in which it can be done are different. So, specialist sector knowledge will go a long way towards winning business in the first place as will creating the perception that you have specialist knowledge. Working with suppliers like Riello UPS can help; we can supply documented evidence (case studies and reference sites) from a variety of industry sectors.
Outside the sale itself, areas where opportunity exists are in the supply of other essential equipment such as switchgear and distribution, external power sources: generators, batteries and extended run-time packs. Services such as power continuity consultancy, electrical installation, financing options, commissioning services (such as regulatory compliance for the removal of old equipment), service and maintenance (of UPS, batteries and generators), software packages for SNMP and remote site monitoring are also increasing in demand.
- Generators. The installation of a generator, as an external power source, can reduce the overall size of the battery installation if extended runtime is required. It should be sized to at least one-and-a-half times that of the UPS. Extra capacity is needed to allow for air conditioning systems and local lighting, which many installations will need. Generators typically take several seconds at start up before they can deliver full power. This means the UPS battery must be sized to provide back-up cover during this start up period.
- Extended run-time packs. External battery packs that add runtime for up to several hours can be connected to the UPS but building extended runtime into a system is a strategic move that must be considered at the design stage in order for it to offer complete protection.
- Consultancy. Power protection itself is quite simple, what is difficult is the synergy of how the various aspects of a business work together and depend on each other. UPS consultancy should be pitched at offering experts to guide customers throughout the procurement and installation process thus ensuring they are listened to and their specific needs and objectives met.
- Financing. Businesses are increasingly interested in spreading the cost of financing UPS and so to facilitate this Riello UPS recently introduced PowerPlans. This gives resellers the opportunity to offer financial contracts to customers that allow them to spread costs over a two to five year period.
- Regulatory compliance. Compliance issues dont only affect UPS suppliers like Riello, but resellers and the end customer all have an obligation. For resellers its a case of how best to meet them. Riello UPS makes this simple by operating certified management systems including: ISO 9001 Quality, ISO 14001 Environment and OHSAS 18001 Health & Safety, so that you dont have to. Removal and disposal of old equipment, such as batteries, for example, is carried out by certified engineers who operate across the UK.
- Service and maintenance. All elements of a UPS system need to be regularly tested and overall maintenance of the system will prolong its life. Businesses these days are keen to outsource this operation to external suppliers and this is another opportunity for resellers.
A fresh interest in managing power problems, rather than pretending they dont exist, is spawning a new era of opportunity for resellers. It can be exploited in several ways: to improve low-end UPS product sales, such as standalone units like the Plug Dialog (for protecting individual electronic equipment terminals, where significant sales increases have been witnessed in the last twelve months) to the Dialog Dual UPS, which is ideal for protecting blade server packed communications cabinets, to the high-end where three-phase UPS sales can provide larger value added opportunities with on-going maintenance revenue.
Robin Koffler is general manager of Riello UPS. He is a UPS specialist who has been in the business since 1983. He became general manager of the company in 2003 and grew the company by 30 per cent in two years. He has an MBA from the Open University, a graduate diploma from CIM (The Chartered Institute of Marketing) and was one of the UKs first registered Chartered Marketers.