2022 Quest for Quality Awards Winners: Top CE Manufacturers

There clearly has never been a more challenging year for manufacturers than 2021. The immediate factory shutdowns in 2020 from the pandemic were followed by an unexpected bounce back of high demand that caught everyone by surprise. It created a snowball effect of massive supply shortages, component price hikes and skyrocketing shipping costs that still persist today. 

So for the 12th annual CE Pro Quest for Quality Awards, in addition to gauging which suppliers offered superior customer service, tech support, warranty administration, shipping policies, marketing assistance and more, we posed an open-ended question to the industry about which manufacturers responded the best to the colossal supply chain crisis. 

The responses were quite telling, ranging from the good, the bad and the ugly to the hilarious. Integrators could not wait to share their praises and frustrations in this year’s survey, which garnered a record 15,444 individual write-in votes. 

Tellingly, the most common write-in response to our question asking who their supply chain hero in 2021 was, “No one.” Some of comments from various respondents include: 

“I don’t have any supplier who performed well … sorry.” “I can’t wait to read the answers to this question in this year’s Quest for Quality Awards, because I want to know which manufacturer or distributor performed well during this supply chain situation so I can start using them.” “I am putting in obsolete equipment as a temporary measure to get my clients’ systems running.” “I am ordering gear 25 weeks out and still not getting it in time.” “The global shortages of many goods reflect the disruption of the pandemic combined with decades of companies limiting their inventories.”“It’s too early in 2022 to address this issue.” “I have no good examples of support as the supply chain shortages keep changing and delaying production.”“Nobody did an over-the-top job.” “Can’t the industry manufacturers pool their money and just buy their own container ship?” 

Well, you get the drift. 

 

CEPro 2022 Buyer’s Guide

Enter today for a company listing posted on CEPro.com and printed in the April issue of CE Pro.

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In general, the suppliers that did receive praise did so because they had available inventory when no one else did, were able to suggest alternative products to substitute the gap of the missing items, or simply communicated with full transparency the status of backorders, even if that information was not necessarily good news. 

The Quest for Quality Awards are unique to the industry because they recognize services, not products, and more importantly the people behind those services. Platinum, Gold and Silver winners are recognized in 15 manufacturer categories and seven distributor categories. 

Best Supply Chain Support 

PLATINUM – URC: 

URC built an extensive network of suppliers to weather short-term and long-term product disruptions … to ensure timely, accurate product delivery for our dealers. Given the headwinds of the past two years, this award a  rms our original supply chain strategy and celebrates the many members of our team. We are more committed than ever to ensure supply of quality products for our dealers and to help fuel their businesses. —Chang K. Park, CEO, URC 

GOLD – Crestron: 

Throughout the current supply chain climate, we have worked side by side with our dealers to guide them and provide them with product in a timely manner. We have maintained open lines of communication to support our dealers and will continue to make this a priority. —John Clancy, Executive Vice President, Residential, Crestron 

SILVER – Snap One: 

Snap One created a Supply Chain Watchtower business process focused on demand/ supply validation, delivery risk identification, cost and revenue impact tracking, and alternative mitigation evaluation and implementation. This new suite of business processes is a clear differentiator; however, we continue to evolve and improve the Watchtower based on Partner feedback, looping back into our ecosystem. —Brain Earls, VP Supply Chain, Snap One

Best Customer Service 

PLATINUM – SnapAV/Control4: 

Throughout each interaction, we strive to create positive everlasting impressions by building a relationship and catering to our Partners’ needs. Our goal every day is to find unique and creative ways to continue to enhance the Partner experience. —Laina Jackson, Director of Partner Support, Snap One 

GOLD – AudioControl: 

AudioControl has fostered a culture of service and support that goes hand-in-hand with our dedication to delivering innovative, Made in USA best-quality AV products. We are grateful to be acknowledged by our customers and partners in so many Q4Q award categories, reflecting the passion and commitment of our entire team. —Alex Camara, CEO, AudioControl 

SILVER – Somfy Systems: 

Somfy’s core values are built on the foundation of quality service and customer satisfaction. With a powerful team of subject matter experts, we support our customers in a way that instills confidence in our brand and in our ability to meet their needs. —Donna Westerman, Supply Chain and Customer Care Director, Somfy

Best Technical Support 

PLATINUM – Snap One: 

Our support team members offer uniquely exceptional support for our Partners and amazing experiences for our shared customers, with a commitment to 100% resolution, even if that requires putting a resource on the project site. In 2021, we doubled the number of industry veteran team members on our technical support team, while simultaneously increasing the size of the team overall. —Scott Jeffery, VP Technical Support, Snap One 

GOLD – Crestron: 

Our True Blue support team is available 24/7 and worldwide to provide assistance through emergencies. The team responds to calls, emails and chats, as well as support creating system designs and quotes, processing orders, and resolving any challenges our dealers may face. —John Clancy, Executive Vice President, Residential, Crestron 

SILVER – WhyReboot: 

We don’t focus on gathering more partners, churning out more systems, or creating cookie-cutter experiences. Our goal is to provide the best support that we can to our partners. It’s paramount for us. As long as we don’t lose sight of that goal, the rest will follow. —Bjorn Jensen, Owner, WhyReboot

Best Lead Generation 

PLATINUM – Sonos: 

At Sonos, we’re continuing to invest in new ways to share the great work being done by professional installers; such as the newly launched Sonos Professional site, which makes it even easier for installers to connect with new clients, and offers support and expertise through an extensive network of installed solutions professionals. We’re also focused on driving deeper storytelling that showcases our innovation, brand, product and corporate leadership. —Casey Clemens, Director, Americas Commercial, Sonos 

GOLD – Ring: 

The Ring brand has become synonymous with video doorbells. Clients ask for it. —Respondent comment 

SILVER – Savant: 

Savant has been focused on delivering innovative solutions since we were founded in 2005, and that spirit does not stop at our products. We make it a point to drive innovation and real business value across our dealer programs, selling and quoting tools, education and support. —Angela Larson, Senior VP of Customer Operations, Savant

Best Sales/Marketing Assistance 

PLATINUM – Nice/Nortek/ELAN: 

Over the last year, we’ve focused heavily on launching new websites for each of our brands — including ELAN. Through this, we’ve created new sales tools while simultaneously launched new sales and marketing programs from demo programs to builder services programs. Our goal is always to create new opportunities with our partners and provide them with all they need to grow their business. —Richard Pugnier, Vice President of Marketing

GOLD – Dish: 

We created the DISH CI Concierge Team to serve the unique needs of integrators. Our mission is to earn dealer loyalty by anticipating needs and exceeding expectations for service. We believe that manufacturers should do everything they can to help dealers delight customers. —Frank DeFilippis, General Manager – Custom Integration, Dish 

SILVER – One Firefly: 

Not only do we help technology professionals grow by delivering new and unique marketing strategies that work, but we’re constantly innovating our services to align with the ever-evolving needs of the custom integration market. One Firefly is always learning — from industry thought leaders, our clients, and our own talented team — how to improve our products and services to be of better value to our customers. —Ron Callis, CEO, One Firefly

Best RMR Support Programs 

PLATINUM – OneVision Resources: 

What sets OneVision apart is our conviction that service will be a massive source of growth and profits for the industry over the next decade. This requires an investment in not just remote support but also software, processes, training, marketing, sales, and recruiting. —Joseph Kolchinsky, Founder & CEO, OneVision Resources 

GOLD – Nice/Nortek/2GIG:

We work with wonderful partners to ensure they have the best products and programs in place. By promoting our product with our associated partners, we, in turn, help them sell services with their features in our support materials. —Quinto Petrucci, Vice President of Product Management 

SILVER – Parasol:

Parasol is the fastest-growing 24/7 remote support company in the United States. We’re built for integrators, by integrators and deliver unparalleled customer service through a global network of certified dealers. We’re constantly working to improve Parasol by testing new features and ideas inside our founders’ CI businesses (Livewire, Eagle Sentry and ETC) first, literally “eating our own dog food.” That’s the Parasol difference. —Henry Clifford, Co-Founder, Parasol

Best Software Support 

PLATINUM – D-Tools: 

D-Tools has made substantial investments — provided financial support, offered free training, doubled the size of our customer success team, and more — to help our customers through these past couple years. Being honored as a CE Pro Quest for Quality Award winner for the sixth straight year is a tribute to my team’s deep sense of caring and commitment to our customers and the channel. —Randy Stearns, CEO, D-Tools 

GOLD – Portal: 

We made a decision when we started Portal that we would never charge for training or support. Our goal was to create the industry’s most simple business software, and if we charged for support we would risk getting attached to a revenue stream that was based on usability problems. Dealers rarely need help figuring out how to use Portal, but when they do we’re there with live chat support or screenshares to take care of them. —Kirk Chisholm, Founder & CEO, Portal 

SILVER – ProjX360: 

We have a very detailed on-boarding process when a new company signs up for our software. When a company signs up with ProjX360, we do an introduction call and learn how their business is setup and operates. Then we have a series of five to six, sometimes more depending on the company, of one-on-one Go-To-Meeting screen shares and walk their team through the setup and workflow of the software. After the software is launched, we have unlimited support available via email, phone, and live chat on our website. —Doug Greenwald, CEO/Founder, ProjX360

Best Warranty Support/Policies 

PLATINUM – Snap One: 

All of our products go through months of development and testing before they ever make it into your hands. Recently we implemented a “Shift Left” concept during the design phase, where we look for critical design aspects, reviews and FMECA analysis. In addition, we are constantly monitoring and utilizing database tools to act proactively and continuously monitor quality. —Avi Galili, VP, Hardware Engineering, Snap One 

GOLD – Somfy Systems: 

We design quality into every product and by standing behind each product, manufacturers, dealers, installers, and end users have confidence in their choice of Somfy. We provide an industry-leading 5-year warranty that applies not only to our motors, but also to the control and gateway devices that enable the smart home. —David Parrett, Product Marketing Director, Somfy 

SILVER – Crestron: 

Crestron only uses quality components and conducts testing for longevity, which have both proven to be important parts of our process. Because of this, we have extensive warranties that cover all our solutions, and we make it easy when issues do occur to provide a fix or send out a new product. —John Clancy, Executive Vice President, Residential, Crestron

Best Shipping Policies 

PLATINUM – Snap One: 

Every day our employees in the Snap One warehouses focus on one thing: getting our Partners their products as soon as possible! 2021 was no different. Despite the numerous challenges impacting businesses everywhere, this team pushed themselves to deliver. —Nathan Porter, SVP, Operations, Snap One

GOLD – AudioControl: 

AudioControl has fostered a culture of service and support that goes hand-in-hand with our dedication to delivering innovative, Made in USA best-quality AV products. —Alex Camara, CEO, AudioControl 

SILVER – Nice/Nortek: 

Even through a turbulent pandemic, we know timeliness and quality assurance matters to our customers. We offer flexible free shipping for customer convenience, and we make it a priority to deliver the best quality service. —Cathy Ferris, Director of Logistics and Distribution

Best Dealer Portal 

PLATINUM – Snap One: 

We have a team that’s truly dedicated to doing what is needed for our Partners to succeed, but we’re also thankful for Partners who are generous with their feedback. Thanks to this combination we can keep driving forward with new products, brands, time-saving features, and other improvements to help our Partners’ businesses. —Bike Howard, SVP, Digital Experience, Snap One 

GOLD – Crestron: 

Our vast dealer portal is at the heart of everything from ordering and training to product pricing and marketing with content that evolves year over year. We pride ourselves on the ability to support our dealers with easy processes and easy access to information. —John Clancy, Executive Vice President, Residential, Crestron 

SILVER – URC: 

We are committed to elevating the URC brand including the user experience of our platforms. We strive for integration across our communication channels including portal, social and CRM. Our operations, finance and sales support team share this award as a celebration of excellence. —Ron Pence, Marketing Lead, URC

Best Consumer-Facing Website 

PLATINUM – Somfy Systems: 

Somfy North America’s consumer- facing website provides a rich consumer experience answering all their needs with complete product and application information. Beautiful photography and videos appeal to the target consumer so they may visualize the product in their home. The website is clear and easy to navigate utilizing modern web design including a mobile- friendly interface. —Tracy Christmann, Marketing Communications & Digital Director, Somfy Systems 

GOLD – Nice/Nortek/Elan: 

One of our more unique and favorite features is the “dealer locator,” a feature designed to make locating a dealer for a project easier than ever, while also showcasing our fantastic partners across the globe. Other features like our project galleries show what ELAN is capable of, and easy navigation paired with language translation make it simple for our partners and customers around the globe to access our site. —Richard Pugnier, Vice President of Marketing 

SILVER – Savant:

Savant has been focused on delivering innovative solutions since we were founded in 2005, and that spirit does not stop at our products. We make it a point to drive innovation and real business value across our dealer programs, selling and quoting tools, education and support. —Angela Larson, Senior VP of Customer Operations, Savant

Best Training Programs 

PLATINUM – URC: 

The entire URC team celebrates this award for the 12th consecutive year! URC’s Training Team is exceptionally focused on ensuring that all our dealers fully comprehend and can quickly install our control and automation solutions. This commitment is core to our brand, our products and, especially, to our trainers. It is a testament to their expertise and dedication which they exemplify every day. We are energized for continued and shared success. —Russ Hoffman, VP Training and Technical Support, URC 

GOLD – Snap One: 

Every effort made by our Education Team is to build the opportunities and careers of custom integrators in our industry. We don’t want to simply enhance the knowledge and skill in the industry, but also inspire a love for life-long learning. —Rus Rasmussen, Senior Director, Worldwide Education, Snap One 

SILVER – Crestron: 

The Crestron CTI is an industry-leading training institute that has trained and certified tens of thousands of professionals. Our global team of highly experienced instructors work closely with Crestron engineering, marketing, and sales teams to bring the best practices in design, configuration, installation, and programming of residential AV systems. —John Clancy, Executive Vice President, Residential, Crestron

Best Dealer Programs/Incentives 

PLATINUM – Snap One: 

Our new Partner Rewards Program was created to benefit all Snap One Partners, no matter what or where they purchase. We consolidated all previous programs and shifted to a points-based model, making it easier to track progress and earn points on both Snap One-manufactured products and distributed products. —Janyl Yousefpour, VP, Loyalty and Marketing Operations, Snap One 

GOLD – Nice/Nortek: 

By providing ways for customers to buy all their key products from one place, we can cut down the order process and minimize interactions with other vendors. In turn, this not only saves them time, but also saves them additional resources. Our great rebate and premium dealer levels also help boost business and maximize buying power across the board. —Jeff Costello, Vice President of Sales 

SILVER – Origin Acoustics: 

Rewarding, fun, innovative, trusting — these are all characteristics of Origin Acoustics. Our company culture allows us to excel in all aspects of business to service our clients to the highest level. Upgrades, lifetime warranty, expedite shipping, problem solving are just a few attributes that make us who we are. —Marc Fisher, President of Sales, Origin Acoustics

Best Dealer Protection Policies 

PLATINUM – Crestron: 

We have the tightest data protection across the board, with polices in place for ordering and processing to protect dealer sales. This is a vital part of our business. —John Clancy, Executive Vice President, Residential, Crestron 

GOLD – Savant: 

Savant has been focused on delivering innovative solutions since we were founded in 2005, and that spirit does not stop at our products. We make it a point to drive innovation and real business value across our dealer programs, selling and quoting tools, education and support. —Angela Larson, Senior VP of Customer Operations, Savant 

SILVER – MSE Audio: 

We have a MAP policy in place to maintain stability in the market. We offer project registration so our dealers can lock in pricing. We also offer industry-leading warranties. —Michael Sipe, Vice President Sales, MSE Audio

Best Social Media Presence 

PLATINUM – Ring: 

Seeing some of those adorable Ring videos on social media is precious. It makes it easier to sell a security system. —Respondent comment 

GOLD – Sonos: 

We aim to inspire our audience by showcasing the impact music and sound can have across all aspects of their lives. We’re also continuing to evolve our approach to highlight even more of the work done by our installation partners across social channels throughout the year. —Casey Clemens, Director, Americas Commercial, Sonos 

SILVER – Google Nest: 

Google is the Internet! —Respondent comment

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