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Q&A: Gerry Perkel, Planar Systems

Planar is set to build the 'Best Damn Runco Ever,' Perkel says.


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With 2008 nearly history, Planar Systems is optimistically moving into 2009.

Despite criticism from some professional installers that Planar Systems has mishandled its acquired Runco and Vidikron brands, Gerry Perkel, CEO and president, says the company strives to satisfy its dealers.

Going forward, the company intends focus its resources on restoring the Runco brand to past glory, Perkel says, while also meeting the existing market demand for Vidikron products.

Perkel explained it all to CE Pro in detail.

What is Planar's immediate plan for the Runco brand?

Going forward, Planar will put its focus into Runco, its flagship home theater brand.

We will continue to sell Planar and Vidikron products, but we will direct our energy and focus to the continuation of Runco as the number one brand in custom home theater.

Runco has been and still is regarded as the top specialty video brand in the market, and its position has been unchanged since the acquisition.

Runco will continue to focus on its core legacy of providing its dealers not only performance products, but also the necessary tools and programs to sustain them long term.

Runco can uniquely service its dealers and ensure their ongoing success and will direct energy into its dealer base while we all weather tough market conditions.

How long will the Vidikron phase-out process take?

There is no distinct timeline.

We offer Vidikron products today to a select group of dealers, and we will continue to offer Vidikron product as long as there is sustainable demand.

Furthermore, we will continue to support all existing Vidikron products in the future. We will offer ongoing post-sales service and support for Vidikron.

How is a large operation like Planar able to continue the Runco brand of service that its former small, private ownership provided?

While Planar clearly has resources beyond what Runco was able to leverage as a smaller private company, Planar is organized into business units designed specifically to enable the speed and flexibility that each market we address requires.

Our goal is to leverage the dedicated and focused resources of the business unit model to enable the continuation of the strong dealer relationships that have made Runco the leader in the market.

Did the assimilation of Runco under the Planar umbrella prove to be more difficult than anticipated?

While the transition of Runco from California did not go as smoothly as we wanted, those issues have been rectified. We are now in a position to provide strong support for our dealers.

Along with that support will be new products, such as our in wall solutions, and new technologies, such as our new OPAL technology, that leverage the resources beyond what Runco could have brought forward on its own.

The bottom line is we have more capabilities to draw on, but our focus is to continue to provide the kind of personal service that our dealers desire.

Are the Planar and Vidikron brands at odds with each other?

Planar offers value-priced performance projectors to the custom dealer. Planar is ideal for the entry-level custom home theater that requires performance and features, but has budget limitations.

Planar also offers our dealers an alternative to working with big-box names that are over-distributed, ubiquitous and aren't looking to protect the custom dealer or his business' best interest.





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