We’ve mentioned to you a number of times that your customer dashboard on alpscontrols.com offers a robust set of project management tools that will change the way you order control parts for your projects — and save you plenty of time and truckloads of money. But even though we tell every single person we know about these tools, we occasionally meet a customer who isn’t taking advantage of them.
Because on May 9th, 2013, at 9:00 AM EST and May 23rd, 2013, at 3:00 PM EST, Jim’s hosting a webinar jam-packed with tips and tools that’ll help you save time, reduce errors and make your projects run more efficiently. You’ll learn:
- How easy it is to upload an entire valve schedule or material list into your online shopping cart
- How to organize your projects into purchasing phases and keep track of what’s been ordered, invoiced and shipped
- Where to view all of your product documentation in one place
- How to find all your invoices for a single project on one screen
- …and lots, lots more.
The webinar will be about 30 minutes long, and it’s ideal for control contractors, purchasing agents, accounting folks, project managers — pretty much everyone at your company. The only requirement is that you need to have a customer account on our site; if you currently don’t, just click the orange REGISTER NOW link at the top of the alpscontrols.com homepage and we’ll create an account for you before the webinar.
Next week, a handful of us from alpscontrols.com will be traveling to Dallas, Texas to attend the 2013 AHR Expo with a couple thousand of our closest pals in the HVAC industry.
Will we see you there? It’s certainly possible, but we’d also like to suggest that you stop by and visit a bunch of our supplier-partners who will be exhibiting their newest and greatest products at the show. Here’s a quick peek at who among our manufacturers will be there, and where to find them:
- Automation Components (ACI), Booth #940
- Bacharach, Booth #1118
- Badger Meter, Booth #2616
- BAPI, Booth #825
- Belimo, Booth #733
- Blue Ridge Technologies, Booth #933
- CAN2GO, Booth #945
- Cleveland Controls, Booth #2313
- Connect-Air International, Booth #715
- Contemporary Controls, Booth #889
- Continental Control Systems, Booth #761
- Danfoss Graham, Booth #1333
- Dent Instruments, Booth #823
- Dwyer, Booth #675
- E+E Elektronik, Booth #766
- Eaton Cutler-Hammer, Booth #2349
- E-Mon, Booth #5620
- Functional Devices, Booth #779
- GE Sensing-Telaire, Booth #804
- KMC Controls, Booth #729
- Neptronic, Booth #629
- ONICON, Booth #925
- SenseAir, Booth #720
- Setra Systems, Booth #890
- Solidyne, Booth #972
- Spartan Peripheral Devices, Booth #739
- Vaisala, Booth #872
- Viconics, Booth #953
- WattStopper, Booth #839
Have a terrific time in Dallas, and we hope to see you there!
We’d like to take this opportunity to say a word to you today, just one word:
See, we know that wire is important to the everyday operation of getting your building control projects done – but the way that you’re currently purchasing wire for these jobs is, most likely, inefficient and costly.
As always, we’d like to help you with that. So allow us to spend a few minutes acquainting you with these Five Spectacularly Great Reasons to Buy All of Your Wire from alpscontrols.com:
- The glorious convenience of one-stop shopping.
You’re already coming to alpscontrols.com for so many parts that you need for your projects, but did you know that you could add wire to your shopping cart as well? In fact, you can find hundreds of wire and cable variations on our site, filter them by gauge, conductor, shielding and rating, and choose specific packaging options: reels, in boxes, or reels-in-boxes.
- Consistent, reliable pricing.
This one is a pretty big deal. Pricing on wire and cables is subject to wild fluctuations because copper – wire and cable’s primary component – is a worldwide commodity item.
So when most wire distributors quote you a price, you’re never really sure if they’re treating you fairly. Today they might cut you a deal because copper prices are low and they want to win your business; tomorrow they could gouge you on price because the market’s more volatile.
So what do you do? You end up spending way too much time and effort chasing the best prices on wire, but you can never truly be sure if you’re getting the best price.
We do it differently. Our wire manufacturer ConnectAir International works with us to keep prices consistent and reliable over time, despite fluctuations in market prices. Because ConnectAir buys in bulk, they’re able to keep their prices steadier than just about any other cable supplier in the industry.
- ConnectAir has specifically designed cables for the controls industry.
In fact, very few other companies even stock cables and wire designed for your controllers. ConnectAir is the source of cables expressly made for systems by:
- Johnson Controls
So that means you can easily find a dependable cable solution for your system on our site – and feel confident that it’s the right one.
- We save you money on shipping, too.
We save you time and money on your shipping because ConnectAir sends it directly to you, not to a distributor’s warehouse where it has to be rerouted and shipped again. And even better: ConnectAir has multiple shipping locations (in Anaheim, CA; Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Phoenix, AZ; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; and Tracy, CA), so they can deliver your wire and cable order anywhere in the United States within three days – and they’ll ship it ground freight for free on orders over $1150!
- We know control contractors and we know how to solve your problems.
Our many years of experience in the HVAC contractor world mean that we’re right there on the spot with you if you need advice and support (which you can find on alpscontrols.com right here!), and we work closely with ConnectAir to ensure that you can get everything you need. ConnectAir also offers customer-specific labeling options and colors through our site, and doesn’t require minimum orders.
Thanks for reading.
Here’s the thing: if you’re a registered user of alpscontrols.com, you’ve got at your fingertips an impressive assortment of project management tools that you might not be currently using, even though they could save you serious time and money on your building automation control projects.
(keep in mind: voting on this question does NOT register you for a webinar. we’ll follow up with you separately if enough people are interested in signing up.)
How the creation of a simple – but brilliant – duct smoke kit solution saves you lots of money on shipping.
Sometimes – in fact, lots of times – we’re amazed by the casual way in which our nearly 150 manufacturer-partners come up with new ways to solve problems in our industry. Sometimes it’s through the creation of a piece of technological brilliance: a new sensor chip or a more accurate wireless widget.
And sometimes, it’s simply a matter of cutting something up into smaller pieces.
Take the example of duct smoke kits, which are small plastic tubes that you stretch across the inside of an air duct in your building. The tubes gather air in and funnel it to a duct smoke detector, which then senses whether or not there’s smoke present in the duct. Then the detector sends a signal to your controller, activates smoke dampers to close – you know the rest.
But here’s the thing: these duct smoke tubes are most often purchased in 5- or 10-foot lengths, depending on your application. And they only weigh about a pound, but when you wanted to order them and have them shipped to you, you were locked into paying shipping on a big, long box.
Was that too many words? Here’s the idea:
Now keep in mind that when you’d order these, you might pay 100% of the cost of the product – or more – just in shipping.
Well, someone really smart over at Space Age Electronics looked at this problem and thought “Golly, that’s just not right” (I’m paraphrasing) – and then came up with an incredibly bright and simple idea: invent a new tube kit that breaks down into sections, making it smaller and easier to ship.
Wow. Just: wow. Here’s the new idea:
Now you can order Space Age duct smoke kits in 6-foot lengths that separate into three easy-to-fit sections, and you won’t have to choke on the shipping charges anymore.
Thanks for reading.
It should come as a shock to exactly no one with even a passing familiarity with alpscontrols.com that we’ve taken an approach to shipping that’s different — and, we dare to suggest, better — than other distributors in our business. We’ve put time and effort into creating shipping methods that ensure our customers get a great deal, so we figured it would be valuable to clue you in as to how we view this critical part of your supply chain management process.
Truth #1 that you need to know: When you receive the parts you’ve ordered on alpscontrols.com, we’ve already cut the shipping process down by half.
This is because traditional distributors are shipping your product twice: once from the manufacturer to their warehouse and then a second time when they ship it to you. We’ve eliminated this step by making deals with our suppliers to drop-ship your products directly to you. One trip per manufacturer means one shipping charge and one tracking number that you’re able to monitor right from your alpscontrols.com customer dashboard. To learn more, here’s a Quick Tips video on our website where you can learn how to track your orders.
Here’s Truth #2: We’ve made managing your shipping costs on alpscontrols.com into a simple, reliable and efficient process.
When it comes to shipping charges, our customers pay, on average over time, about 3% of the value of the products they’ve ordered. That figure varies somewhat, but is based on a customer who purchases a variety of products on our site (which most do) and who designates standard ground shipping for most of their purchases.
How have we made this so consistent and reliable? Because we’ve brokered a deal with the majority of our suppliers to use our UPS account when they ship your products to you, and we’ve negotiated a shipping rate with UPS based on the total volume of shipments made on our account. Add those two factors together and you get some pretty significant savings that we’ve passed along to you.
Truth #3: “Free” shipping is usually not what it seems to be.
If you place an order with a traditional distributor, you’ll see a lot of hootin’ and hollerin’ about free shipping with a specified minimum amount — but the fact is, it isn’t really free. It can’t be, right? You know inherently that there is a cost for moving products from the manufacturers’ factories to the distributor and then to you, and those costs have to covered somewhere along the line. The truth usually can be found in a distributor’s use of “free freight” to justify higher prices on the products themselves.
At alpscontrols.com, the pricetag on your parts is up-front, transparent — and low. Your shipping costs are consistent and reliable. And you can manage shipping costs right from your dashboard by printing a report that shows the dollar amount of the products you’ve bought, your shipping costs, and a percentage value of those shipping costs based on the products you’ve bought — so you can adjust your shipping methods to get the most out of your money.
Still, free shipping can be an attractive incentive, so we’d like your honest opinion:
And there’s one more Truth we’d like to impart today:
Periodically, our supplier-partners do offer our customers incentive deals on shipping that you’ll want to consider as you go about ordering products on our site. Take a look:
- C3Controls — Free ground freight on orders over $400
- Connect-Air — Free ground freight on orders over $1150
- Danfoss — Free ground freight on all variable frequency drive orders
- E-MON — Free ground freight on orders over $1100
- Genesis Cable — Free ground freight on orders over $1150
- Johnson Controls — Free ground freight on orders over $4500
- Hoffman — Free ground freight on orders over $2300
- Parker Hannifin — Free ground freight on orders over $1800
- PECO — Free ground freight on orders over $1900
- Ruskin — Free ground freight
- Saginaw — Free ground freight on orders over $1250 (custom orders excluded)
- Sensor Switch — Free ground freight on orders over $1250
- Siemens — Free ground freight on orders over $2500
- Siemens — Free ground freight on all butterfly valve orders
- Vaisala — Free ground freight
We’ll update this list as necessary, so check back here to see new shipping offers.
alpscontrols.com – an internet-only distributor where flesh-and-blood technical support people make the whole thing work.
Let me start out by saying that at alpscontrols.com, we LOVE the internet. We’re huge fans. Each day it’s a thrill for us to engage in this cross-generational, multi-cultural communication space in which opinions and art and entertainment and philosophy and government all come together for the purposes of information exchange and commerce!
We were particularly tickled recently to discover this blog post, in which internet-only building control distributors are called out for a number of perceived shortcomings, and in which alpscontrols.com is specifically — in super-duper secret coded fashion! — mentioned:
…Stocking no inventory, having manufacturers ship direct to customers, providing no technical support, and bragging about it. Really? Give us a break, even Clint knows there is no free lunch. One way or another you get what you pay for. Not to name names, but if you are using these guys you have A lready L ost P erspective and S ensibility.
To use a phrase popularized by the kids on the internet: we see what you did there!
But the fact of the matter is that the statement above gets at least one item glaringly, stupendously wrong: at alpscontrols.com, we do provide technical support. In fact, a good 35% of our staff is dedicated to delivering experienced, immediate, efficient and product-based customer support that also includes specifying and quoting. There’s really no way that our innovative business model could be successful without it, and a large percentage of our customers, when asked about the strengths of our company, tell us that our support personnel are what bring them back to alpscontrols.com day after day.
Why is that? Setting aside for a moment that our people are quick, friendly, and know their stuff, it comes down to three main reasons:
- Our use of advanced communication technology, in which we leverage Skype, in-house training, webinars, online video, live support and even email and telephone calls to quickly serve our customers’ support needs;
- Our ability to deliver more customer support than traditional wholesalers. We’re able to do this because we take all the time that we’re not stocking shelves, performing inventory and driving trucks and we spend it working with our customers; and finally,
- The fact that, in those instances where more comprehensive product answers are needed, we immediately bring our customers together with our manufacturers to find the information they need. There’s complete transparency on alpscontrols.com between suppliers and contractors, primarily because we actually want our manufacturer-partners to know who their customers on our site are.
We’re just funny and generous like that.
Here’s the thing: there is still a need in the marketplace for local brick-and-mortar distributors to provide the immediate gratification of inventory-based product sales. Heck, sometimes we even purchase products from local distributors, and they buy from us as well. But our business model is designed for — and successfully fulfills — a much broader, global need. In a single online space, we’re able to offer over 8 million products that couldn’t possibly be warehoused efficiently; we handle hundreds of transactions every day for control contractors who seek a cost-effective way to order an entire project’s specification list on a single purchase order. And sure, we do it without stocking an inventory, and by having our suppliers ship directly to our customers — but we do it because it provides value and efficiency not only to our customers who appreciate it, but also to our manufacturers who, freed from the time and personnel it takes to support product transactions, are enabled to spend their time doing what they do best: design and create new and better products.
If you have any questions about our ability to provide technical, specification, product, or sales support, we’ll tell you what: why don’t you simply contact our non-existent support folks and find out for yourself?
- Send us a general inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Visit our site’s “People” page (it features actual people) and contact someone specific to your needs via email or Skype
- Visit our homepage and click the Live Support button in the top right corner
- Take a look at this page full of videos where you’ll get product support, insight into our business, quick tips on using our site, and a laugh or three.
- Comment on this post below
- Or shucks: just give us a good, old-fashioned, phone-type call to 412.464.1730
Thanks for reading.
Eddie Johnson seeks to build, bolster – and yes, even nurture – supplier-manufacturer relationships as our new VP Vendor Development.
With an ever-growing list of more than 150 supplier-manufacturers that represent the best and brightest in our industry, it should be a shock to exactly no one that we found a guy to create, maintain and strengthen those relationships who is himself among the best and brightest in our industry.
Eddie brings with him a wealth of experience in OEM relationships, building automation controls, wireless technology and in working directly with control integrators and the particular challenges they face in leveraging high-end technology in the creation of modern, energy-smart buildings. Most recently, Eddie was Director of OEM Sales at EnOcean, where he worked to get manufacturers to embed EnOcean wireless- and batteryless-enabled technology into their products. He also helped get our sister site enoceanparts.com up and running; it’s the first and only site online where EnOcean-enabled parts can be purchased from multiple manufacturers.
As a self-professed, long-time fan of alpscontrols.com, Eddie’s looking forward to working with our current and future suppliers by leveraging what he calls our site’s “enabling technology”:
I am a passionate believer that what we have is the best way to buy stuff! What I want to do is to build on the phenomenal success that we’ve created — not only in exposing new suppliers to our existing customer base, but also in expanding how our current manufacturers interact with those who use our site. It’s a two-way street: we help buyers and sellers find each other, then we make it possible for them to easily transact business together, to their mutual benefit.
Originally from England and having lived in Europe, the Far East and the Middle East, Eddie currently resides in Louisville, KY, where he has a 13-year-old daughter, a 10-year-old daughter and 10-month-old son. He’ll be traveling extensively for his new position, and will be based both out of our Pittsburgh, PA, offices as well as his home office in Louisville.
- Find out more about Eddie Johnson here.
- Should your company be selling its products on alpscontrols.com? Let us know right here and Eddie will get the ball rolling.
Would you like free shipping on all Setra Systems SRH orders for the whole summer? Yes. Yes, you would.
“Accurate,” “durable,” “dependable” and “reasonably priced” are just a few of the words you could use to describe Setra Systems’ spectacular line of SRH humidity sensors.
Well, go ahead and add “shipped for free” to that list, starting right now.
Because if you visit alpscontrols.com from now through August 31, 2012, and purchase a Setra Systems SRH wall mount, duct unit or outdoor mount humidity transmitter, your entire Setra Systems order will ship for free.
Soak that in for just a moment. You won’t hear a better summer offer unless Duran Duran reunites and plays a half-dozen shows at your local Ribs ‘n’ Wings Festival.
Setra Systems’ SRH humidity transmitters feature:
- Field replaceable sensor tips
- Choice of 2%, 3% or 5% RH accuracy
- Active or passive temperature
- 4-20mA or field-selectable 0-5 and 0-10 VDC
- NIST traceability (optional calibration certificate)
- Recovery from repeated saturation
Tell you what: we’ll stop bending your ear about it. Go take a look at Setra Systems SRH humidity sensors on alpscontrols.com right here and see what you think.
Offer good from 6.1.12 through 8.31.12. Customer must order at least one SRH transmitter and ground shipping charges are free for that Setra order. Continental United States only.