Mitel has revealed plans to supply and support all of its 80 UK resellers directly after dramatically ditching its five distributors.
To handle the transition, Mitel intends to recruit 20 to 25 more staff to beef up its logistics, support, sales and education capabilities. It has also developed an online ordering facility as it looks to ‘disengage’ with its distributors over the next month.
Enda Kenneally, UK sales director at Mitel, said the vendor was not receiving sufficient ‘focus’ from its distribution partners.
“We will no longer be at the behest of multi-vendor relationships and will now be in control of our own destiny,” she said.
The U-turn comes as a double blow for Westcon, which recently announced its intent to acquire fellow Mitel distributor Crane. Guy Koster, vice-president technology solutions group at Westcon Group Europe, admitted the decision had come as a surprise, but said that Westcon would work with Mitel to ensure an “orderly transition for resellers”.
Simon Thompson, UK sales director for Westcon, added: “Distributors often offer a far greater level of customer service than a vendor can deliver. What other vendors of Mitel’s size are moving to a single-tier model?”
Mitel’s 20 top-level platinum partners already enjoy direct support from the vendor, but most still viewed the change in a positive light.
Richard Dendle, managing director of Britannic Technologies, said: “Distributors don’t add any value other than logistics, and if Mitel perceives that value isn’t relevant, then why pay the margin?”
Ty Gardner, sales and marketing director at Universal Office Automation , said: “Mitel needs to ensure that it can match distributors’ level of logistics.”
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