Manufacturers Manufacture, Distributors Distribute: WYNIT Velocity Event Takes That Concept to New...

Manufacturers Manufacture, Distributors Distribute: WYNIT Velocity Event Takes That Concept to New Heights


North Syracuse, NY—Gaining an edge: it’s a quest that oftentimes separates the winners from the losers in myriad aspects of life and one that has taken on new meaning in today’s difficult business climate.

As a major consumer electronics distributor, offering up an event to your CE manufacturing partners that, in large part, promises to help them gain an edge in the all-important product-to-market chain would certainly appear to be a worthwhile venture. However, delivering on that promise might be looked at as a fairly tall order.

The aptly named WYNIT Velocity Summit, held November 1-3 in WYNIT’s headquarters city of Syracuse, New York, was developed to bring together supplier representatives from each brand in WYNIT’s comprehensive product offering for three days of presentation, collaboration and networking. As WYNIT executives would explain, the event was designed to provide their supplier partners with the personal relationships and tools required to effectively “Accelerate Their Business with WYNIT.”

At the event’s conclusion most concurred mission accomplished, and over 50 of WYNIT’s suppliers made the mid-autumn trip to northern New York for those aforementioned three days of insightful tips, valuable networking opportunities and a chance to display their latest innovations in the relaxed and focused atmosphere of the city’s Oncenter Convention space.

After an opening night reception, day two featured multiple breakout sessions designed to help supplier’s gain a better understanding of the right way to get products to retailers, and ultimately to consumers. Topics such as branding, promotion and e-tailing along with some inventive point-of-sale display examples were discussed and disseminated within the various distribution channels.

In one of the breakout sessions that zeroed in on the photo channel, WYNIT demonstrated a unique retail display they developed for Kodak’s Picture Kiosks that made the unit more approachable and more attractive to consumers.

“Helping our suppliers better understand how retailers think and how that environment works is what we’re always thinking about,” Anthony Valentine, Photo Division Sales manager at WYNIT, explained regarding their work on the Kodak kiosk.

The event truly provided some eye-opening moments for the suppliers that attended.

“An event like this allows us to tap into WYNIT’s expertise on bringing product to market,” began portable storage manufacturer Transcend’s Juliana Zend, the company’s account manager. “There are a lot of details that need attention on the vendor-to-end-user chain today, and this event is focusing on many of those aspects.”

What the Velocity event essentially did was tap into an evolving business strategy evident with many of today’s CE manufacturers. WYNIT’s COO, Pete Richichi explained, “The business strategy we are seeing today is that many manufacturers are moving more of their sales administration costs to distribution due to the pressure they are under. They are more closely examining how they can take costs out of the supply chain.”

Drilling down even further he added, “What most manufacturers do really well is design and manufacture products, and what we do really well is pick, pack and ship. This event is really about going to our partners and saying, ‘Go do what you do really well and let us do what we do really well.’”

Despite the simplicity of that equation, Richichi admitted there still needs to be a certain level of trust involved. “It’s a key element for sure,” he said. “As we manage their supply chain they’ll put more eggs in the WYNIT basket, but that also comes with some big responsibility. We really have to respond to that and be committed to their success. We have worked hard to gain that trust and they certainly see our commitment.”

That commitment and trust was clearly evident during the Velocity event as attendees were exposed to the WYNIT way of doing business and how to gain a better understanding of how retailers think. As the saying goes, “retail is detail” and WYNIT proved time and again during the event  that old adage is still going strong. Perhaps one of the best examples of this is the way WYNIT works with retailers to determine their special events/promotions calendars throughout the year and then passes this information on to the manufacturers so they can coordinate product campaigns that better speak to those special in-store dates.

“This is the kind of detail that often falls through the cracks,” explained one vendor sales rep at the event. “It shouldn’t but the reality is it does, and it’s great WYNIT is passing this kind of stuff along.”

Emerging Opps
WYNIT was also quick to note that while brick-and-mortar retail continues to struggle, business in the dotcom segment is growing rapidly, and the company is busy building a strong backbone in this space as well.

“The manufacturers have pushed the logistical requirements of their business model to distribution so they now don’t have to maintain enormous amounts of infrastructure and fixed costs; they pushed that to us,” Richichi added.

Perhaps it was during the Photo Retail Channel session that the reason for attending Velocity became most clear, as Valentine stated, “Within the photo specialty channel we talk to the top 100 photo retailers every day.” Are there any manufacturers out there that can honestly make that claim today?

The event also included a mini trade show on the final day, when WYNIT’s suppliers were able to exhibit and demo their latest products for the WYNIT team.

WYNIT hinted at the possibility that a retailer component might be added to this event in the future, but nothing was formally announced. One thing is certain, based on the positive reaction from the suppliers that attended, the WYNIT Velocity Summit is poised for growth in the years ahead.

Letting people do what they do best…what a concept.