During the COVID-19 pandemic, the single greatest risk that customers currently have is the technology provider they pick surviving through a project and, more importantly, through a warranty period or support agreement.
There is stress in our industry and there are companies, who are highly leveraged — specifically those who have been growing through leveraged acquisition. There are smaller companies that are hanging on with government assistance. Servicing debt can become more important than servicing customers.
This risk is completely avoidable if customers do a deep and comprehensive financial review, led by their finance team. You must invest as much time into financial review as you do into pricing, staffing plans and technical review.
What AVI is well known for its financial bedrock. We are the largest self-funded and capitalized integrator in the United States.
Even at our size in the industry, we carry zero debt. We’ve never paid a bill late. We have excess working capital. We can bond any project our clients bring to us.
We accepted zero PPP loans or government assistance during the pandemic; we simply didn't need it.
Asking your providers if they are financially sound is not enough — you must require that they demonstrate it. You must review balance sheets, statements of cash flow, and debt-to-equity ratios for any engagement over $100,000.
AVI Systems is 100 percent financially transparent. We share financial information upon request to back up our claims. No company you look at will come close to AVI Systems — guaranteed.
In my many years working in this industry I’ve been through two other recessions. Neither were as bad as this one. I’ve have seen customers lose deposits, have liens put on their properties from unpaid suppliers, have integrators unable to source product, and worse, disappear.
My encouragement is that customers select the most technically competent provider, with a fair price, in the strongest financial condition.
About the Author:
Jeff Stoebner is the president and CEO of AVI Systems, Dascom Systems Group and Magenium Solutions.