The issues around data cabling which typically held back the use of budget products was that the main cost associated with a data installation was the labour element of the works, so where budget solutions were used, the installer typically took a risk on the products and if the products failed, the costs to replace the materials where generally largely outweighed by the labour costs to do so.
So whilst the ability to return the products (As you would a supermarket) was usually available, no-one would warrant a system for the labour element of the costs. This meant that the risk remained with the customer and installer should the system fail…
The introduction of own brand products from distribution houses such as Minitran and Mayflex have meant that the distributors have reduced the risk for installers by putting forward a budget solution which they themselves have verified and put their name to. The benefit to this approach is that the distributers are putting their own reputations on the line by selling a budget solution, this may have the potential to lose them work should the solution fail. Distributers own brands give installers the ability to come back to a single supply source should there be any problems as the solution is backed by the supplier with up to a 25 year warranty.
With products like Excel Data cabling (http://www.excel-networking.com/) and Mini5 (http://www.mini5.com) the brands have now been in existence for a number of years and have managed to build a reputation based on price and quality. The introduction of these brands has very much upset the market place as they have been able to bridge the gap between the budget solutions and large brands.
With the popularity of these solutions, the distributers have been able to increase their product ranges and introduce a range of accessories, such as Data Cabinets, AV accessories and much more. In some cases offering a broader range than large manufacturers.
Whilst there will always be a place for high end data cabling, we are finding more and more that the market place for solutions offered by the Distributors “own” brand products is expanding, as the reputation grows and price becomes even more important to customers.