Not at this time, although as part of my strategic plan I am looking for some level of inorganic growth and therefore may well acquire at least one small-to-medium-sized company which would not only add to our core skills, but also provide us with some extension in geographic terms.
Do you have any plans to increase headcount?
So are you actively recruiting?
Key staff members
Brian Calder, strategic development director - he was the one who started the company in 1989; John Hope, marketing and sales manager, formally at Olivetti UK's Network Solutions Division.
Twenty years working for the Olivetti group in both the UK and Europe in a variety of management roles through area and general management, including director; international business development which was based at corporate headquarters in Italy.
Company year end
Recently changed to 31 March
What was last year's turnover?
Can you indicate what proportion of your revenue is derived purely from sales and what proportion comes from value added services?
Today, it is approximately 70 per cent products, but we are moving towards 50 per cent.
Main product lines sold
PCs - we build to order under our own brand, but also supply Toshiba, Compaq, Siemens and a number of others depending on requests we receive; network products - FlowWise Router Accelerators, plus we are an IBM NETeam Partner; and VideoCast, which is an in-house development of video broadcasting over Lans
Main accreditation held
IBM and Siemens
The news media industry
Mirror Group, Newsquest Media, Reuters, The Scotsman, SII, Pearsons, Mitsubishi, Securicor
Do you have any European or international presence?
Yes, we provide support services for pre-press terminals made by SII throughout Europe.
PCs - clone makers and Dell Lan Products General; Cisco and Bay resellers.
Which distributors do you use and what do you see as the main role of distribution?
We currently use Ideal Hardware, Bluepoint, Micro Peripherals and CHS Electronics. I would suggest a distributor's main role should be primarily that of creating market awareness, developing sales campaigns and using their buying power to obtain the best deals for their reseller customers from the manufacturers.
I don't think distribution should be as it is today, simply providing a stocking service which resellers are forced to use.
What is the biggest challenge you foresee for the year ahead?
In PCs, continuing to maintain our product build value add while component prices continue to fall.
Is there a recession on the way?
Probably. It depends on the nerve of those who set interest rates as it seems that most decision makers and buyers are affected by the apparent delays in any such changes.
However, I do think that much of the potential for downturn in our industry can be attributed to a perceived lack of benefit in the need to constantly upgrade or change equipment to the extent that has been in the past. Faster machines are not always the answer, are they?
What advice would you give to distributors, such as Azlan and Ilion, who have been faltering recently?
1) Listen to your customer.
2) Know who the customer is.
3) Have respect for the reseller chains.
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