Fluke Networks Canada has named Montreal-based Star Net Marketing Inc. as its manufacturers’ representative in Quebec as the company looks to expand its distribution base in the province.

Under the agreement, Star Net will be responsible for sales and support of Fluke’s copper and fiber cable

test tools for the verification, qualification and certification of cabling infrastructure, plus hand-held test network test tools, including LinkRunner and NetTool.

“We looked at Star Net because of its strong customer base in Quebec,” said David Green, director of marketing for Fluke Networks Canada. “They have a good mix of products and a quality infrastructure that’s only going to help us grow our business in Quebec,” he added.

According to Green, the deal with Star Net is part of Fluke’s plan to align itself with manufacturers’ reps across the country. Last year, JFC Solutions was chosen to represent it in Ontario and Western Canada.

“This is another piece of the puzzle,” Green said. “We’ve got Canada pretty well covered, with exception of the Maritimes, where we don’t do a lot of business at this time. Now that we’ve got representatives handling our products, we can expand our presence across the country. We expect it to work well for us,” he said.

Green stressed that Fluke is not replacing its own sales force with reps, but rather supplementing it with agency help. He said it is getting harder for the company to deal with distributors. With new technology,products and markets to deal with, Fluke simply didn’t have the resources reach all the distributors.

“We are expanding our product lines throughout Canada and it’s a challenge for us to reach all our partners,” he said. “This makes it much easier. There are more feet on the street. There are customers dealing with cabling networks and power systems that we can now reach,” added Green.

Founded in February 2001, Star Net represents vendors exclusively in the telecommunications field. It has five employees, including two inside sales representatives. The company has been looking to expand its offering into network verification, qualification and certification for the past two years. Late in 2004, it entered into negotiations with Fluke after the vendor went looking for agency help in Quebec.

Star Net president Vince Bartolacci said Fluke represents a significant addition to Star Net’s roster of Vendors, which includes Powerware, Waterguard and Ortronics.

“As far we’re concerned, when it comes to these types of networked handheld tools, Fluke is definitely by far the leader in the industry,” Bartolacci said.

“They have an established market recognition,” he continued. “The brand loyalty is there. They have a very large installed based, so its helps us cater to a lot of people, but by the same token be able to bring to Fluke an additional support with five people here to help them ensure their market position and grow it even bigger,” Bartolacci added.

Bartolacci said Fluke’s reputation for innovation was one of the main reasons his company was quick to partner with Fluke. For example, he pointed out that Fluke has test equipment available well before the announcement of new standards. He also said Fluke’s acquisitions of Microtest and Harris tools provides Star Net with access to a wide range of products.

“They have such a depth and breadth of product that you cannot find anywhere else,” he said. “This is an incredible advantage for us. It will help us not only gain more market share for Fluke but also to be able to attract contractors of all levels.”

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