Product innovation. It is one of the many challenges facing lighting manufacturers. While some companies strive to achieve this through in-house resources, others look to European manufacturers, which are known for their progressive design approach. And while U.S. companies have imported European lighting products in the past, long lead times and compliance with UL and CUL standards have often proved problematic. Litecontrol, a Massachusetts-based manufacturer, focused on the commercial and institutional lighting markets, has devised a plan to bring innovative European design with UL listings to the North American market. It will put its system into practice with the LC-Euro Collection.

'Lighting design trends start in Europe. Designers want to use European products, but they are not UL approved; that's where Litecontrol comes in. We are able to bring new design content to product development,' explains Litecontrol CEO Veda Clark. In an effort to expand its base, Litecontrol set out to find European manufacturers that would complement its own offering of linear fluorescent architectural lighting systems. The result is a partnership with four companies: two from Belgium, DARK and Waco; one from Sweden, Fagerhult; and one from England, Hacel. Under the name LC-Euro Collection, Litecontrol is the exclusive American distributor for these companies, and with this strategic partnership, is able to offer 16 new products. Four products will be launched each year. What Litecontrol expects to offer in return is expertise in guiding these companies and their products through the UL-approval process. The other important aspect of this partnership is that Litecontrol will maintain a ready-to-ship inventory in the United States, with a duplicate inventory overseas, thereby reducing the wait time for these European-designed, American-assembled products.