President and CEO
For Pat Lavelle, President and CEO of VOXX International Corporation (NASDAQ: VOXX), success means a collaborative effort driven by the leaders and employees, to identify customer needs and serve them better than anyone in the industry. Since 2000, VOXX has made over 15 acquisitions and, with them, acquired an extremely talented workforce, many of whom have driven product innovation and growth. As President and CEO of VOXX, Pat has always focused on the customer experience and how it can be enhanced. He consistently poses the same question to his team: “What do our customers need and how can we deliver not just the best products, but the best experience?” And with that, there is a constant drive to focus on market trends in terms of what is driving the next wave of consumer preferences and how VOXX can deliver products that stay ahead of the competition. He adds, “Our business has evolved many times over the past six decades, as technology evolves rapidly. To succeed, you can’t be afraid of change – you must embrace it. And this has always remained at the forefront of our organization.”
VOXX was founded in 1960 by John Shalam, the Chairman, as a supplier of car radios, sourcing products from overseas and throughout the years, has grown to become a leader in mobile and consumer electronics, with a portfolio of biometrics/iris authentication solutions to capitalize on the need for advanced security.
“We started out as a supplier of many products to the automotive aftermarket and now, we are a leader in rear-seat entertainment and car security to many of the world’s largest automotive OEM’s and in the aftermarket,” says Pat. “Similarly, we supplied consumer electronics products at retail and expanded to become the #1 provider of premium audio products, along with leading market positions in the digital antenna, clock radio, and TV remote control categories, among others.” VOXX has done this by recognizing gaps in the market, changes in consumer preferences, and products that can be improved through innovation to enhance the customer experience.
According to Pat, managing inventory and demand is always a market and corporate challenge. “This is something we’ve constantly focused on as you never want to get stuck with older inventory that is no longer in demand. At the same time, you must be in position to consistently deliver to your customers,” he explains. “We have excellent relationships with our global supply chain partners and customers across all of our segments and we continue to work very closely with both. Additionally, as it relates to the supply chain, there are periods where components may be scarce, posing a serious threat to many industries, and this must be managed vigorously.” He added, “We have been fortunate in that we have established a vast network globally over 60+ years in business and have been able to manage scarcity issues in the past and even today as it relates to chipsets.” One thing Pat learned early in his career from John Shalam is that you have to have strong relationships in place to succeed and partner with your vendors, not just order from them. This too, has been key to VOXX’s success and longevity.
On the other hand, biometrics has grown significantly over the past decade and more so in recent years, given the rise in cybersecurity, identity theft, physical infrastructure protection, or lack thereof. All of this has created an urgent need for advanced security measures, and Pat firmly believes that biometrics is the answer. Fingerprint, facial, and voice recognition are all forms of biometrics and have a place in the global environment. But the most secure authentication outside of human DNA is the iris, making it the most secure and easy-to-use solution. “With EyeLock, a company we initially invested in back in 2015, we have the most advanced portfolio of iris authentication solutions and it’s only growing,” elucidates Pat. “Recently, we introduced upgrades to our nano iXT solution to address temperature checks and have since modified it to ban entry of someone with a temperature. We have over 75 patents or patents pending solutions and more are in development.”
It is pertinent to mention, VOXX has rigorous quality control standards in place, and they are constantly evolving and taking into account best practices to ensure they have the best safety, quality, and operational controls, and not just in manufacturing. “We have a 115,000 sq. ft. facility in Orlando, FL which serves as our corporate headquarters and automotive manufacturing plant,” explains Pat. “Here, we house the vast majority of engineering, quality, manufacturing, supply chain & operations for the automotive market and we are IATF 16969, SO 14001, ISO 9001 status. We also achieved Q1 Certified Status for Ford Motor Company, one of our largest OEM customers, which is not easy and a testament to our team.”
VOXX manufactures and distributes so many different types of products across their business segments, and there are several examples to provide. But perhaps one of the most significant for their Company today is in the rear-seat entertainment category. VOXX has been a market leader for decades, supplying to both automotive OEMs, such as Ford, GM, Stellantis, and others, and to consumers in the aftermarket. VOXX has constantly been upgrading its solutions, bringing more content into the vehicle as that is what consumers want, and that is what enables them to stay at the forefront of innovation.
VOXX’s latest automotive innovation is EVOLVE, their next-generation rear-seat entertainment system and interest has been staggering. Since announcing an alliance with Amazon in January 2020 to bring Fire TV to the automotive market, the Company has secured large, multi-year contracts with Stellantis and Ford, with others it believes are forthcoming. Pat noted, “Content is king and we have and continue to align with leaders to bring content, whether at home, in the cloud, on devices or streaming services, into the vehicle through our rear-seat entertainment systems. EVOLVE is slated to launch this summer. Another key automotive innovation is the Company’s eFob system, essentially, a phone as a user’s key. This too, is coming soon and builds off VOXX’s #1 market position in remote starts and security.”
The Company’s Consumer business grew significantly over the past year, as it expanded its product offering, customer base, geographic reach and strategic partners. While there are many brands in the Consumer portfolio, Klipsch is certainly the most recognized high-end brand, with others such as RCA, Terk, Acoustic Research also known and trusted within the markets served. Pat added, “we have a number of new high-end, premium audio products that should continue to drive higher sales for us in the coming years, and recently, we created 11 Trading Company (11 TC) with a focus on distributing other 3rd-party brands while leveraging our vast retail and distribution networks.”
Additionally, new biometric solutions, both embedded and physical access products, will benefit customers not for days to come, but for years. This has Pat very excited about the future. “innovate or die – this is a theme across many industries and serves as a key pillar at VOXX. “We are constantly driving innovation in our products, our services, and across all areas of our business. For if you don’t innovate, you won’t be around long,” adds Pat. “Technology changes rapidly and VOXX has proven for over 6 decades that it has the ability to change with it, though our goal remains — to change ahead of it.
VOXX operates in cyclical markets and many categories experience tremendous success and then disappear with the advent of a new technology. Think of the iPhone. VOXX did over $100 million in MP3 players at one time and they are now, a thing of the past. That is why you must embrace change.
Pat and the team at VOXX believe they are now entering the next phase of growth and its Fiscal 2021 results would certainly indicate that. “We are looking forward to the next cycle of growth, continuing to improve the customer journey and driving value for all partners and our shareholders.”