D&WC: Please give a description of your company and its history.
Jon Vrielink, President: BTX is known as a pioneer in motorization
for window coverings in North America. The company’s origin
goes back to 1984 when it started distributing high-tech manual vertical
blind systems. With the onslaught of Asiatic products in the late ’80s,
the company changed its direction to focus on motorization.
BTX carefully safeguarded its technology and high quality standards. The technology
was successfully transferred into traversing motorized hardware systems for vertical
blind, drapery and skylight shading systems. These formed the foundation for
BTX as the leader in motorization.
D&WC: What window coverings products did you handle initially? What
do you handle today?
Vrielink: Motorization grew slowly in the early ’90s. However, during that
period BTX built onto its knowledge and expertise, successively introducing motorized
hardware systems for lift and lift/tilt applications for horizontal blinds, pleated
shades, cellular shades, wood blinds and roller shades. The patented BTX lift
system (MLS 40) is now widely used as an even lift system for cellular shades,
Roman shades and horizontal blinds. Customer demand further led to the development
of a complete hardware program for roller shades.
As the product range grew, so did the company’s sales volume. Along with
this, BTX built its staff of experts in motorized systems and operating controls.
BTX now offers what is probably the widest range of operating controls for window
coverings systems available. In-house electronics experts develop highly customized
control systems to solve complex requirements for residential and commercial
D&WC: Who are your customers? What parts of
the country do you service?
Vrielink: Although the motorization and automation of window coverings has been
significantly simplified over the years, the nature of this industry continues
to require a degree of expertise. Most sophisticated systems are powered by line
voltage motors, and often are controlled by some level of home automation or
centralized operating control. BTX sells its products through a nationwide network
of window coverings companies that offer such expertise.
The end customers are both residential and commercial. Due to the nature of the
product, most of these are in the upper end of the market spectrum. Among the
landmark hotels equipped with BTX systems are the Four Seasons in New York; the
Peninsula Hotels in Bangkok, Chicago and New York; the Las Vegas Hilton; and
many others throughout the world. These types of projects are served through
commercial contracting companies.
D&WC: Where do you see your company five years from now?
Vrielink: BTX has been able to maintain its growth pattern during the past two
years of national recession at a 15 percent pace, which is less than we anticipated.
Our growth curve is now moving up again, and with an ambitious new product program
slated to kick in early next year, we aim to get back on our 25 percent plus
The move into our new modern facility in Dallas allowed us to significantly increase
our production capacity. Within the next five years, we expect to double our
volume, strengthen our position as a leader in our field in the United States
and expand internationally.
D&WC: What are the key factors for growth and success?
Vrielink: The quality and uniqueness of our products are fundamental for our
success. However just by themselves they do not suffice. Especially in motorization
and automation, it is the complete service package that matters.
Technical support is essential. It starts out by advising the customers on what
they need to meet their customers’ requirements. Our in-house technical
consultant team at BTX specializes in helping customers select which motorization
systems to offer. A very important part of that is the selection and design of
the control systems. BTX is undoubtedly unique in offering that capability and
the scope of these services. We have a three-person team that does exactly that
five days a week.
The next element is prompt and accurate service backed by a true product warranty.
BTX devotes a great deal of attention to safe shipping, so we crate most orders.
As a rule, orders are shipped within 10 working days.
D&WC: What trends and cycles do you see occurring in the industry?
your business addressing them?
Vrielink: Motorization of window coverings will increase significantly. Customers
are starting to discover that it is now possible to control the natural light
levels in their homes without the need to repeatedly pull cords or beaded chains
at every window.
It is amazing that although we spend most of our lifetime awake, during the hours
with natural light we often completely forget to adjust this light level to maximize
our comfort level. Automation makes that possible and truly convenient. As customers
become aware of the possibilities, more and more designers are beginning to pay
attention to these new customer desires.
D&WC: Do you educate your customers?
Vrielink: To help our customers cope with these new end-user demands, BTX is
offering technical seminars. Initially we thought technical seminars might be
a two-sided sword, scaring people off with technology. This no longer holds true.
For one thing, the products have been greatly simplified, and for the other,
automation technology can be found all over the modern home.
Forward-thinking professionals now enjoy the two-day technical seminars where
they acquire a degree of expertise that solidly prepares them to handle the technology
and to take full advantage of the new opportunities in window automation that
BTX Window Automation, Inc.
10763 Sanden Dr.
Dallas, TX 75238-1336
fax: (214) 343-2252