The start of 2017 saw the beginning of a new era in Elvey’s long history as Gary Lowe took over the leadership from Jack Edery, who retired towards the end of 2016 after being with the company for over 21 years. Gary, not a newcomer to Elvey, has been active in the company’s management for over eight years, previously fulfilling the role of commercial director.
Having had some time to settle into the role of CEO, Lowe spoke to Hi-Tech Security Solutions about where he sees the company going and what his focus will be over the next year or so.
The primary message Lowe has for the market is that Elvey will build on the momentum gained to date and continue to focus on providing superior solutions and support services to its customers as a key technology partner.
That said, Lowe is very aware of the challenges facing business in South Africa at the moment and says that these challenging times will see Elvey working more closely with its customers, helping them to gain a competitive edge in an increasingly commoditised market space.
Changes have already been made in the company to improve focus across the expanding range of solutions, reinforce existing relationships and develop business opportunities with customers in previously unexplored market verticals. “As focused distributors, maintaining intimate relationships with our key suppliers will remain our priority. The relationships, of course, work best when we share the same business philosophy and commitment to delivering more value to our customers. Many of these key relationships have been in place for well over 25 years.”
Saturated market, tough economy
The tougher economic conditions coupled with increased competition from new products and new entrants, makes things more challenging for Elvey, a company not typically associated with offering the cheapest products or solutions. Lowe says Elvey will remain true to its core strengths, focus on what it can control and continuously strive to be better. “We generally look to steer clear of the ‘race to the bottom’ when it comes to product/pricing decisions. We constantly look to provide superior products rather than cheaper products, and aim to attach more value to the products we provide. This gives our customers the edge, particularly those focused on developing a loyal, quality-sensitive customer base,” says Lowe.
This applies to enterprise-level customers as well as smaller installers who are themselves focused on offering quality products and services to clients. Lowe says that with Elvey as their partner, installers and integrators can offer clients the assurance that the products and solutions they provide are not only of a high quality, but that it is ultimately supported nationwide by a reliable company that has been in business for over 70 years.
To this end, the company continues to invest in training and ensuring it has the required technical skills on board to cater for all requirements, from simple product sales through to large projects.
A bright future
While not being blind to the issues the country is facing at the moment, Lowe is optimistic about the future. Elvey’s focus will remain on innovation and reinforcing its value-add to its target market, while continuing to drive growth across new markets and product categories, both organically and through acquisition. A recent example is Elvey’s acquisition of Commercial ICT, a core IT systems and infrastructure provider, with a view to boosting its capability to provide network/cloud-based security services together with its key products.
Pentagon, Elvey’s integrated systems design and supply business, will continue to focus on gaining ground in the high-end projects market, where customers require integrated solutions across multiple product disciplines.
“Through our combined exports division, our African customers have access to the world’s leading brands and solutions. Combined with the technical proficiency of our people and our powerful distribution capability, we’re well positioned to make our customers stand out.
“Elvey and Pentagon also seek to harness synergies with MiRO, as the trend towards IP convergence gathers pace in our market.”
On the challenging times, Lowe concludes, “Every new challenge that comes our way brings with it new opportunity. It’s about recognising the right opportunity, having the courage to pursue it and enjoying the ride.”
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