As Even Flow marks its appointment as a national distributor for the full range of Hikvision products, the company is relocating to new and bigger premises.

The Hikvision distribution agreement is the culmination of a focused journey to diversify the company’s offerings and add more value to the solutions sets its reseller partners can take to market.

Gideon Cotzee, MD of Even Flow.

This is according to MD Gideon Coetzee, outlining Even Flow’s history from a specialist distributor in the voice market.

“The company was established as a private entity in 2005, then became part of the Epsidon Technology Holdings group of companies in 2019.”

Up until two years ago, Even Flow retained its focus on servicing the voice market, with PABXs, phones, unified communication and networking solutions.

“I joined Even Flow in April 2022, taking on a working and profitable business,” Coetzee says. “But, as with every business, we had to start looking to the future.”

Thus was born the core of Even Flow’s strategy: “Don’t try to be better; strive to be different.” And this drove a transformation that is now bearing fruit, with Even Flow demonstrating remarkable growth in the last two years.

Even Flow’s move to new premises is the visible part of its transformation journey. Not only was it becoming urgent to increase the warehousing space, but the company needed to put a more professional face on its interactions with customers and partners.

“We are no longer a small company and need to make a lasting impression when we work with people,” Coetzee says. “And the new premises give us the space we need to realise our vision to be different.”

With a 2 000 square meter warehouse, Even Flow has gone from not being able to unpack containers into a full warehouse to having space to spare. And the 1 000 square meters of offices give the company space to include administration, solution centers and training facilities.

As Even Flow began its transformation, Coetzee’s main priority was to diversify the business. “When I started, 80% of our revenue was from the voice market and we were very reliant on one or two vendors. We needed to increase the spread of offerings in order to derisk the business.”

The other part of the transformation strategy was to maximise Even Flow’s penetration by increasing the business available through existing partners, and moving into new territories.

Successful diversification would enable the company to offer existing customers more solutions and more value-add, while giving impetus to territorial expansion.

With security top of mind for most customers across South Africa and Africa, Coetzee quickly recognised that the Hikvision value proposition met all of Even Flow’s diversification criteria.

Not only does the vendor offer a well-known top-of-the-range camera line-up, it packages the hardware in industry-, scenario- and function-specific solutions.

“They bring artificial intelligence (AI) to the Internet of Things (IoT) in AIIoT solutions that ensure proactive rather than reactive security,” Coetzee explains.

The vendor also has a strong presence in the local market, with a staff complement of about 200 people, so it was easy for a South African distributor to engage.

“We starting working with Hikvision in a position somewhere between reseller and distributor,” Coetzee says. “We bought the product mainly as an add-on for our existing customers so enjoyed a hybrid relationship as a tier one reseller.”

Last year, one of the national distributors closed its doors, and Coetzee seized the opportunity to forge a closer relationship with Hikvision. This was accomplished in April this year, when Even Flow completed the formalities to sign on as a national distributor.

Coetzee is quick to emphasise that Even Flow doesn’t plan to focus on hardware sales, but aims to move up the value chain to offer AIIoT solutions to new and existing customers.

“The combination of camera, software and networked intelligence enables solutions like smart security, smart agriculture, smart cities and more. This is where we are focused: on taking the device and using it to create a smart solution.”

The new partnership allows Even Flow to attain many of its transformation goals: it has diversified its solution set into the important and growing security market; it can grow existing partners; and recruit new ones; while expanding its geographic reach.

With Hikvision, Even Flow works to enable partners through training and exposure to the solution stack. The distributor will also engage with resellers to create demand for the solutions; and consult on behalf of partners to help them to land orders.

Training and certification is key to growing the security and AIIoT opportunities, Coetzee adds, and this is available through both Even Flow and Hikvision.

Apart from the cameras that it is well known for, the Hikvision solution stack also includes signage, from small in-store displays to giant building-sized screens.

“This is another market that we are looking to invest in, and are exploring the partnering opportunities in smart digital signage,” Coetzee says. “These are different customers, so we are expanding our partner portfolio on the commercial side.

“The Hikvision displays also embrace AIIoT, with smart technology enabling the right content to be displayed at the right time.”

Even Flow currently works with about 6 000 partners. As it expands this base, Coetzee says he is keen to work with resellers that go beyond simply selling a customer the hardware they requested, but going beyond that to identify opportunities to create an intelligent solution that helps the customer to build addition revenue.

“Everyone wants to secure new business, and if you lead with a solution that will pay for itself, you are going to get the business.

AIIot can help customers advance their business to the next level, so we need to be having the solution discussion, not a hardware discussion.”


The triangle of success

As Even Flow grows in revenue, staff numbers and space, it is determined to retain the personal touch that has always underpinned its business.

MD Gideon Coetzee explains that a strong family culture permeates the organisation, with people happy in their work.

“We are making a big effort to keep the family culture, the personal touch, as we grow,” he says.

Even Flow has always recognised that there is a triangle of success: the people, the vendors and the partners.

“That triangle needs to constantly be in synch, with the human element and customer satisfaction at the heart of all endeavours.

“If you can get the human element right, the rest falls into place,” Coetzee adds.


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