Components and peripherals distributor VIP Computers has set its sights on the Irish market, and to this end has created a new division and a series of partnerships.
Headed by Robert Parry, the newly arrived channel manager for VIP's Irish initiative, the new operation is being underpinned by a next-day-delivery service with freight forwarding company Irish Express Cargo (IEC).
IEC, which has a depot in Warrington, near VIP's main operation, already works with IT vendors including Dell, Philips and Hewlett-Packard (HP).
Parry said VIP is hoping to increase its presence in the Irish market by working with existing distributors, and is negotiating with some of Ireland's biggest channel players. VIP said there are no plans to open a direct operation in Ireland. Instead, it will be putting its faith in its logistics set-up and the alliance with IEC.
"To a lot of people in the channel, both distributors and resellers, Ireland is a logistics nightmare," Parry said.
"VIP has spent time understanding the market and the values of prospective partners in Ireland. Key to the success of this operation is being able to offer next-day delivery. If the logistics are not good then this type of initiative will not do very well. Fortunately, IEC has 30 years of channel experience.
"Our next-day service to Ireland is only £15 - not a lot when you consider it is £12.50 for the UK. We have had a lot of good feedback on that from prospective partners. We are successful in the UK and Holland because of the size of our portfolio.
"Right now we are speaking to the top tier of Irish distributors to find out if they have gaps in their portfolios."
Tom Buchanan, northern UK business unit manager at IEC, said: "VIP is a big player in the channel and we are delighted with this new venture. We've been around for more than 30 years and we have a lot of experience in the IT arena - HP is one of our major accounts.
"All of our business is geared towards next-day delivery. It's also ideal that our main UK operation and VIP's are both based in Warrington."
Parry claimed notebooks and lifestyle IT products are among the 'hot' product areas in the Irish market. VIP hopes to expand the reach of some of its leading components vendors into the new market.
"There are component firms such as Asus that do not have any real presence in Ireland. We are presenting these vendors to the Irish distributors," said Parry.
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