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Distribution America finds ultra-portable
LCD projector an outstanding investment

Lightware VP-100 porjector in use at Distribution America, Des Plaines, IlI can’t tell you how many times over this projector has paid for itself," says Lori Unterberger, Sales Department Administrator at Distribution America, a marketing organization serving about 25,000 hardware stores, home centers and lumber yards across the country.

The firm uses a Lightware VP-100 constantly, on the road in off-site meetings and at their headquarters in Des Plaines. " The only problem we have is that we have to get another one," says Unterberger. Though it’s main purpose is for sales presentations, " they’ve probably used it for 30 training sessions" over the last five months.

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The sales department at Distribution America is responsible for sales management and support of 28 distributor members and thousands of independent retail stores. (Among their member programs are Hardware Hank, How-To, Trustworthy, Sentry, Golden Rule, and Our Own Hardware.) The Lightware projector is used mainly by the firm’s three retail sales directors and the vice president of sales, but it can go out with any of their own 28 distributors or their members’ sales people.

"Our people travel about 75% of the time," Unterberger reports. They use the projector for presentations to current customers and potential new customers, showing them the firm’s marketing programs, product assortments, and pricing. In addition, the firm’s marketing department will take it when it’s not booked, and various departments use it for staff and vendor meetings.

Obviously a projector being shared potentially by hundreds of people is subject to some misuse. Lightware had also some problems with the first units it shipped, including this one." We had a little problem at first with the lamp," says Unterberger, " because we didn’t really understand it. We were closing the projector up without letting it cool down. At one point, we shut the unit off, immediately unplugged it and sealed it in its shipping case." As a result, the lamp overheated, shattered, and damaged the unit. Lightware, however, immediately shipped a replacement at no charge. " It was really fast," says Unterberger. " We had a new one the next day."

Since that time, the only real problem Unterberger reports is answering questions about the wide variety of computers that users connect to the projector. But United’s account manager has been able to help here. " Because I don’t understand everything about the computers," says Unterberger, "your guy gets on the phone and calls the members for me. He handles the problem and I don’t have to intervene." She adds that " he’s also very good about sending information, and he hand delivers things to me that I purchase. Customer service has definitely been 150%."

The projector, too, has obviously been performing at 150%. " It’s really been helpful," says Unterberger. " I have to say, it’s definitely earned its money around here."