Stampede invited several hundred manufacturer partners Tuesday to its 2018 U.S. Vendor Summit in Buffalo, NY, where the company assured attendees of new parent DCC Technology Group's commitment and resources.
“Our collective ability to imagine, design and manufacture complex products and systems solutions that deliver amazing customer experiences across all of the vertical markets we serve is our single biggest advantage as an industry,” said Kevin Kelly, Stampede president and CEO. “And now, supported by the capital, resources, and commitment of DCC, Stampede is ready to become your one-stop, one-call global gateway to all of the unfolding opportunities being created by this new era of commercial experiential AV.”
Gerry O’Keefe, managing director of the distribution arm of DCC’s Technology Group, emphasized that DCC acquired Stampede because it had established the initial framework for a global distribution solution. “On its own and through its acquisition of Just Lamps, Stampede went further than any other company in Pro AV distribution,” he said. “With our investment of capital and additional resources, Stampede can now scale globally. The combination of Stampede and Exertis distribution is going to create unprecedented new business opportunities for our vendors, resellers and end-user customers.”
O’Keefe said that DCC is a £14.3 billion revenue, London Stock Exchange listed (LSE) international sales, marketing, and support services group that employs 11,000 people in four divisions operating in 17 countries.
O’Keefe told attendees that DCC does not approach acquisitions “as an opportunity to acquire and strip out assets. Rather, we view acquisitions as building blocks to a global solution that is bigger and better than the one we had in place before the acquisition. We really do believe in the power of our people and their ambitions. Our goal is to create a better global pro AV business through Stampede, one that adds value to our vendors and resellers. We are not interested in chasing profitless commodity business opportunities.”
According to O’Keefe, the world is changing in terms of what people want from distribution. Historically, distributors operate country by country. “Today, however, the companies we represent want a faster way to reach more of the world more cost effectively," he said. "We are focused on creating these global solutions for our customers.”
Building upon the current market success of Stampede is going to be a lot easier now that the traditional capital constraints Stampede faced are eliminated. “As an independent company, Stampede had record-setting sales years in 18 of its 20 years,” Kelly said. “In 2017, our overall sales grew by 22%. Constrained by capital, we literally could not leverage all of the opportunities presented to us and we still grew by 22%. Now this will no longer be the case.”
Kelly told manufacturers to expect a lot more from Stampede going forward. More financial strength. More opportunities to expand business globally. More local and regional marketing programs that cover more of the marketplace. More robust product portfolios and inventories in the field in more warehouse locations. More sales offices. “And, yes, more acquisitions,” he said. “We are actively looking to acquire trade distributors who share our values. Consolidation will continue to be a dominant trend in our industry. Let your other trade distributors know that Stampede is open to additional acquisitions that will further enable us to better serve our customers.”
The two-day 2018 Stampede U.S. Vendor summit combined a round the clock schedule of presentations, work sessions, manufacturer exhibits, 1:1 sales meetings and social, team-building events into one powerful and unforgettable experience. A highlight of this year’s event was a “Meet the DCC Exertis Team” panel discussion that featured senior DCC management who fielded questions from the audience on a range of topics that directly impact their business.
Kelly told attendees that, at the end of the day, Stampede was still very much Stampede. “We built this company together, one customer at a time, one relationship at a time, one deal at a time," said Kelly. "Its been a very personal journey every step of the way. At times like this, there may be a concern that some of these values will change.”
“Clearly things have changed, and in ways that will directly benefit your business. We are part of a much bigger enterprise,” Kelly said. “My commitment to you, however, is to continue to work with you the same way we always have. You are always one phone call away from a solution! At the end of the day, we are still Stampeders!”