Q&A: Nordost President Joe Reynolds
Reynolds talks about manufacturing HDMI cables in the U.S. and best practices for selling cabling products.
Specialty electronics manufacturer Nordost made news late in 2012 when the Massachusetts-based company released a new, DPL Labs-certified HDMI cable that is manufactured in the U.S.
Just prior to the holiday season Joe Reynolds, president of Nordost, explained to CE Pro why the company decided to buck the market practice of outsourcing its HDMI products.
Why has domestic production of HDMI cables been the “Holy Grail” for American cable companies?
Frankly, I don’t think most American cable companies are interested in the “Holy Grail” of HDMI production. It is a lot easier and cheaper to hand over production of their products to overseas OEM [original equipment manufacturer] companies. The problem with this approach is that the HDMI standard is not always being adhered to in production. Every facet of production is critical, especially with regard to termination of the cables.
By doing a physical and optical inspection of the cables during the termination process in our factory we are able to have a very high level of quality control. Quality control and adherence to all of the collective factors that make a complex standard like 1.4 HDMI work are of great importance. With the introduction of higher resolution formats such as 4K, quality control becomes even more critical. There are a lot of variables in the overall interface between the HDMI outputs of various devices. This creates huge problems for installers in the field who are encountering serious problems when their installations fail. At the very least Nordost is confident our American- made products can deliver an HDMI cable that will live up to or exceed the stated performance.
Why was DPL Labs certification important for Nordost with its American-made HDMI products?
As the first American company to make and terminate its HDMI cable in-house we wanted to make sure that we lived up to the highest standards of the format. We had invested a lot in developing the project and becoming an HDMI adopter. We had been advised by a number of our dealers to talk with DPL Labs before we embarked on HDMI manufacturing. We are very glad we did as the testing and advice we received from DPL Labs during the course of certification really helped us to develop a world-class product.
What is the best way for dealers to sell cabling products in a market that is skeptical about the viability of A/V cables?
One of the best ways to sell cables is to offer the customer a simple demonstration in the showroom. Nordost has been doing this very successfully for many years by comparing cables in demonstrations at Hi-Fi shows and dealer events throughout the country and around the world. We recommend setting up a simple workstation system where cables can easily be changed and demonstrated in the showroom. In order to sell cables such as Nordost one has to hear and understand the differences. Personally when I worked in retail I could never sell a product I did not believe in. We also recommend letting customers borrow cables to try in their own systems after they have received a demonstration.
How does Nordost support dealers to ensure success selling Nordost products?
Nordost products are currently sold in over 60 countries and we have our dedicated team of sales trainers visiting our dealers constantly. We do a lot of events at our dealers’ showrooms where customers are invited to demonstrations. This is very successful and has grown our business a lot over the last few years. Sales training and a very proactive approach to selling Nordost products is important. We have very effective sales tools such as Nordost cable demonstration cases that our dealers can loan to customers for home trials. We also have a cable burnin machine called VIDAR that dealers can purchase to condition cables for their customers. This is an extremely valuable tool for enhancing the customer experience and building loyalty and sales. In addition, Nordost advertises in most of the major Hi-Fi magazines around the world, as well as in online publications.
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