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Why Wireless Lighting Controls Work for Distributors

Oct. 1, 2020
Here are five strategies to consider when building a business in wireless lighting controls.

By Tom Perich, Director of Channel Marketing, Lutron Electronics

The design-build approach to projects now accounts for nearly half of all U.S. nonresidential spending. It can help streamline schedules and reduce costs, but it can also put additional stress on contractors who are already dealing with ongoing labor shortages, an aging workforce and now a pandemic-altered construction environment. With wireless lighting control, distributors can simplify lighting installations for customers, secure repeat business and create customers for life.

Why focus on lighting control? Because lighting is essential in every space on every project. Wireless lighting control solutions can make code compliance easier, accommodate growing requests for touchless control, improve comfort and, with proper planning, the lighting control solution can be key to smart building integration that quickly and seamlessly adjusts in the face of inevitable change orders and unrelenting deadlines.

You can help customers design and bid jobs more quickly, finish jobs faster and be ready for change whenever and wherever it happens. Here are five ways to ensure your company will be your customers’ go-to source for wireless lighting control.

#1. Keep rough-in quantities in stock. Product on the shelf builds contractor confidence. Wireless lighting control solutions typically rely on a standard product mix such as load controls, occupancy sensors and local controls.

Talk with your lighting control vendors to see if they have a simple, scalable, wireless option that you can keep in stock so you are ready when the contractor needs it. When projects on are tight deadlines, wireless solutions make it easier for your contractors to walk out the door with the materials they need to start the job.

A wireless solution has plenty of other advantages, too. Does your customer want a few more sensors or control locations? Are you looking for ways to quickly provide touchless control in high-traffic areas? No problem.  Your customers can just add controls at any time in just a few minutes with no new wiring, and no disruption to the employees in the space.

If the space layout changes, or the customer wants zones reconfigured, wireless remotes are ready to install and set up in minutes to put control wherever they need it. Make sure you have them in stock so you can quickly supply product to accommodate customer changes.

#2. The right wireless solutions make design and quotations quick and simple. Contractors need flexible solutions that can meet different performance needs but are also simple enough to enable internal and external salespeople to quickly design and quote with confidence. Off-the-shelf solutions using standard pricing or work with manufacturers’ design and estimating software can be a boon to busy salespeople and customers. Time is money for you and your customers.

#3. Wireless can work just as well for retrofit or new construction. A wireless system with significant design flexibility allows you and your contractors to standardize on a solution regardless of project type. When wireless lighting controls are flexible, scalable and simple to program, it simplifies future projects — new construction or retrofits.

While the “new normal” is a phrase we’re already tired of, it is today’s reality. Space use is changing; space layout may need to adjust; and contractors are even more pressed for time, often short on skilled labor and looking for solutions that can make good on the promise of fast installation and simple setup. Wireless delivers, and it makes change orders and additions much easier.

Wireless quickly puts control where you need it. Especially in older or historic buildings, lighting control helps make a space more dynamic, comfortable and personal. In an older building with brick and plaster walls, uneven construction and even restrictions based on historic preservation, it can be a challenge to put the controls where people most want to use them. With wireless, you can add control wherever it’s needed with no wallbox and no new wiring.

Wireless lighting controls install quickly — up to 70% faster than their wired counterparts — reducing labor costs. And they can be reprogrammed easily, at any time — no new wiring and no tearing open walls. This all translates to a solution that virtually eliminates risk.

#4. App-based system setup puts commissioning in your contractors’ hands. When contractors can install and commission lighting control systems themselves, they save time and money, protect their project schedules and add tremendous value for their clients, potentially creating customers for life. Smart, scalable lighting control solutions can help eliminate complex, third-party setup and commissioning. Work with a system that offers a robust, mobile-optimized app that makes your contractor the programming experts.

#5. Wireless solutions can create value beyond your warehouse and beyond any one project. Your contractors look to you for expertise in lighting control design that ultimately helps them differentiate their services and create customers for life. The right smart, scalable, wireless solution will meet a wide variety of customer needs from simple retrofits to new construction, is built to accommodate change over time and will keep your contractors coming back to you for their next project.

One last tip — don’t underestimate the power of manufacturer service and support. When it comes down to meeting critical timelines, your contractors will appreciate a system that’s backed by 24/7 technical support, especially when they are trying to finish a job in the wee hours of the morning. Let your salespeople sleep well knowing the manufacturer’s technical specialists are ready and waiting to answer those weekend installation or programming questions.

Sidebar: Lighting the Way at Hospital Retrofit Job

As the COVID-19 pandemic bore down on New York earlier this year, time was of the essence. The North Central Bronx Hospital had to completely reorganize several floors quickly to take care of many new patients. They needed to fill five floors in 18 days. “Lutron’s Vive was perfect,” said Keith Ready, NY lighting manager for Turtle & Hughes, Linden, NJ. “As a wireless solution, it was easy to design, install and program, and there was plenty of stock on hand. We got it approved and installed — that’s installation and commissioning — within six days.”

Sidebar: Meet Tom Perich

Tom manages the Electrical Wholesale Channel for Lutron Electronics, focusing on C.L dimmers and accessories, sensors, Caséta by Lutron, Ra2 Select, and Vive Wireless Lighting Control products.  He is responsible for evaluating industry trends, opportunities and competitive examples to develop marketing programs, campaigns and product launches to drive sales with distributors and electrical contractors. He has an MBA at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, and before coming to Lutron was the global business development manager and financial analyst for GSA Fleet, part of the General Services Administration, a federal agency that provides vehicle fleet leasing services to other agencies.  

You can reach Tom at [email protected].

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