The program, called TopIntegrator, includes benefits ranging from free product samples and training modules to deep discounts on software.
“In the past, we’ve had system integrator programs that were run by our product groups, but this new program is customer-driven, and addresses the broader needs of system integrators,” says Edwin Newell, system integrator segment manager for Schneider Electric’s North American Division, based in Palatine, Ill.
The TopIntegrator program provides three levels of membership—basic, Silver and Gold. Any system integrator can register for basic membership and obtain access to a dedicated Web site that includes features such as product support links and access to computer-aided design drawings of Schneider products. Members also receive e-mail notification and links to technical documentation when new Schneider products are introduced, says Newell. Schneider brands include Merlin Gerin, Modicon, Square D and Telemechanique.
“From time to time, we will also send out e-mails to TopIntegrator members offering free product samples to the first 200 who click on a link in the e-mail,” Newell adds. The company recently gave away samples of a variable frequency drive product valued at $300, he says.
Silver and Gold TopIntegrator members are those integrators who have purchased $25,000 and $50,000 worth of Schneider products, respectively, during the previous 12 months, says Newell. These members qualify for additional benefits, including e-mail-based codes and standards support, for example. “We have 20 people dedicated to standards, and you can ask them a standards-related question about anything you’re working on as a systems integrator,” says Newell. Qualified members click on a link to send an e-mail question, and will receive answers via e-mail or phone calls. “We try to respond in two to three days,” Newell notes. “I don’t know of any other supplier who offers this type of benefit to their integrators.”
Another Silver and Gold member benefit is the ability to purchase, at a reduced rate, a Software Resource Suite that includes all three programming languages used for Schneider’s various programmable logic controllers, says Newell. A one- to three-seat license goes for $1,500 to Silver and Gold TopIntegrator members. That compares to a normal combined selling price of around $20,000 for the three products, Newell says. Additional benefits limited to Gold members only, include access to computer-based training modules on product- and non-product-related topics, as well as glass plaques in recognition of Gold member status, he adds.
Newell believes that value delivered through the TopIntegrator program will prove attractive to a large number of integrators. As of early October, about 450 individuals at 330 integrator companies had signed up for the program, based on about 4,000 direct mailings that went out to individuals in late June, he says.
Schneider imposes no exclusivity on its TopIntegrator members, says Newell. “We don’t care if they also handle product lines from our competitors.” Newell also emphasizes that Schneider has no plans to form an in-house integration team that might compete with its system integrators. “We’ve heard so many times in this market space about other suppliers that are out there competing with these integrators, and we’re not doing that,” he says.