The UPS industry has seen a lot of consolidation, but it's had little impact on the vendors' sales through distribution.
APC, which last year was acquired by Schneider Electric, which also owns MGE, is by far the most commonly found UPS vendor in distribution. Its share of sales through distributors in 2007 is only slightly less than its share in 2006. Tripp Lite and Eaton Corp. follow. Eaton also grew by acquisition last year when it acquired the entry-level business of MGE from Schneider at the time the latter acquired APC.
About 95 percent of APC's sales are through indirect channels, and MGE is also now turning its sights on the channel after being a direct player for so long, said Rob McKernan, vice president of Americas channels and alliances at APC.
The company in March introduced a new tiered certification program to help partners develop sales and engineering competencies in power, cooling, security, and environmental management. Productwise, the emphasis will be on products that cut power to IT components which are not in use to save energy, McKernan said.
Jan Baker, office manager at Systems Design Inc., Sparks, Nev., said her company uses only APC UPSes. "We get a lot of support," Baker said. "Any time we have any issue, say a problem with a weird noise, they walk us through. They refer customers to us. And they never try to steal a customer."