Harbinger, a national sign and lighting firm that specializes in fabrication, value engineering and project management, has hired Don Nagel as vice president, west region. Nagel has more than 20 years experience in national sales, with more than half of that in the sign industry.
In this role, Nagel is responsible for new business initiatives including developing national accounts and establishing an office in Dallas, where he currently resides, to increase the company’s presence in the western region. His location also enables closer ties to one of Harbinger’s business alliance companies, Dallas-based FutureMedia Displays.
“Don’s sales expertise and in-depth knowledge in the sign industry is a real asset to our company as we continue to expand our client base nationwide and increasingly serve multi-location c-store, foodservice and retail customers,” said Steve Williams, president of Harbinger.
Most recently, Nagel served as director of sales and marketing for the non-profit organization Citizens Development Center. Prior to that he held various roles throughout his career with General Sign Company in Missouri, Dallas-based Suntec Industries, and Mighty Equipment Company and Allen Displays in Nashville, Tenn.
What do national retailers want from their signage program partners? Harbinger met with dozens of retailers during Chain Store Age magazine’s 47th annual Store Planning, Equipment, Construction and Facilities Services Seminar (SPECS) to ask.
The answer: Credibility. Reliability. Consistency. Cost savings.
“Interestingly, immediate cost savings was not the highest priority of the retailers we spoke with, even as our economy is just starting to recover,” said Ed Killion, executive vice president of Harbinger. “Many retailers, like our customers in the foodservice and convenience store industries, are focused on long-term costs and value. Therefore, the attributes of credible, reliable and consistent service and products are most important to them.”
Credibility – Retailers want a sign company with national reach, a qualified network of providers and programs in place to monitor the credentials of those providers.
Reliability – Clear, distinct processes for national project management are a must, as is experience. Retailers also want assurances that their standards will be adhered to at all times.
Consistency – All retailers want great quality products and services, including project management and installation, but for national or regional multi-location chains consistency of sign materials, color and illumination also is key.
Cost Savings – Cost savings are important to retailers, but not necessarily the cost of the actual signage. With gasoline prices increasing, many retailers were concerned about freight and shipping costs of the signs once manufactured.
“As the economy recovers and retailers begin opening new locations or refurbishing existing ones, these qualities in a signage partner will become even more crucial,” Killion added.
The world’s largest individual golf retailer, Edwin Watts Golf, trusts Harbinger with its national, multi-location signage program. For eight years, this successful partnership has grown along with both companies. Today, Harbinger manages Edwin Watts Golf’s signage program for more than 75 locations, including new, converted and updated locations.
“We have created a ‘one-touch’ program for Edwin Watts Golf. They contact the dedicated Harbinger project manager to initiate any required signage service and we seamlessly manage the surveys, permitting, fabrication, installation and servicing of any sign at all locations,” explained Steve Williams, president of Harbinger.
The signage program currently involves the logo and letters on the exterior of the locations, and decorative window and interior imaging solutions to maximize the brand at retail.
For color consistency in the green and white logo and lettering, Harbinger converted Edwin Watts Golf signs from paint to translucent vinyl films, all applied first surface for both cabinet and channel letter signs. To stay “green” in other ways, all new signs use LED illumination, reducing Edwin Watts Golf’s carbon footprint, saving the company up to 70 percent on sign operating costs, and providing more reliable, consistent luminosity.
To enhance Edwin Watts Golf’s brand and seasonal promotions, Harbinger provides full digital window prints in an array of motifs. The prints are created on a 3M medium-adhesive product that allows them to be removed without leaving an adhesive residue on the windows. Harbinger also is working with Edwin Watts Golf on virtually permanent interior prints that can be applied to both treated and untreated drywall substrates, and can be fully removed without leaving any adhesive residue.
“Edwin Watts is the most trusted retailer in golf because of our employees’ knowledge of the golf industry and their commitment to customer service,” said Therese Grossman, director of construction for Edwin Watts Golf. “We expect the same of our partners. Harbinger is exactly that in the sign industry -- trusted, knowledgeable and customer-centric.”
Harbinger, a national sign engineering and manufacturing firm, is introducing an online customer portal to better serve its multi-location clients. Through the portal, customers in the retail, convenience store, grocery and foodservice industries with multiple locations and simultaneous sign installation projects will have access to real-time project updates and status, among other features. The online portal is currently being tested and is scheduled to launch Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010.
Using a client login on Harbinger’s website, customers will have access to quotes, inventory, drawings of sign mock-ups and graphics, project and order history, invoices, and project status. As well, some multi-location clients may have access to customized approved-product catalogs, especially for those with franchises where it is important for the franchise owners to select from signage options that meet corporate brand standards.
“An increasing number of customers ask us to manage their signage installation or sign retrofitting programs nationwide. For example, we are retrofitting signage in more than 1,750 locations for one customer,” explained Steve Williams, president of Harbinger. “By investing in the technology to most efficiently manage these projects, Harbinger can continue to meet customer expectations while streamlining our internal processes.”
Harbinger will offer the service free to clients that meet certain criteria. The company expects the online portal will further streamline its internal processes by serving as a central location for project and customer information.
One of our national convenience store clients is reducing its carbon footprint and environmental impact is by switching to LED lighting. In 2010, Harbinger was retained to retrofit the signage in more than 1,750 locations nationwide – and to do it within the year.
In addition to researching and developing a LED lighting solution, Harbinger fine-tuned its project management process to ensure support of hundreds of retrofits simultaneously in varying stages. On average, Harbinger completes 230 retrofit installs for this client per month. Through Harbinger’s national network of local installers, the project is rolling out state-by-state.
Each retrofit is custom fit per location. The process begins with an on-site survey of the sign cabinet at the store location. Even though the client often has standard-size cabinets, the particular size must be verified. Back at the manufacturing facility, Harbinger cuts the Q Strips, wire and necessary parts to size, adds the LED lights to the strip and connects the power supply. The fully assembled lighting kits are then packaged and shipped out to the installer with precise installation instructions created by Harbinger. The instructions include both written steps and graphic depictions to ensure the on-site retrofit is implemented correctly and efficiently.
Harbinger has completed more than 75 percent of the installs to date, with each install being on time or ahead of schedule. In addition to staying on schedule, our client is pleased to start reducing its energy costs per sign by up to 80 percent with consistently lit brand identification signs.