Computer 2000 (C2000) is gearing up for the second round of its credit elevator programme in 2010 to keep cash flowing in the channel.
The broadliner appeared bullish at its Vendor Partner Summit entitled Accelerating Growth yesterday, at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, where it highlighted plans for growth and hinted at a tougher attitude towards partnering.
Opening the session, Andy Gass, managing director of C20000, explained how the distributor has been focusing on credit for the past year, working closely with credit insurance giant Euler Hermes to keep insured limits at reasonable levels.
“We have engaged with Euler at chief executive level in the UK to discuss credit,” he said. “Despite losing more than £35m on our largest customers, our total insured lines have increased by one per cent this year. Euler has showed real partnership towards us and I'd like to thank them for that. We need to remain focused on keeping that up in the year ahead.”
C2000’s stance on credit has been one of ‘attack and defend’, Gass explained, and following the success of its credit elevator this year, which increased credit levels by £10.5m and saw a £15m increase in incremental sales, the firm is set to launch Credit Elevator Two in 2010.
The firm is determined to be a £2bn business in the UK within four years, he said.
Gass added that the distributor is continuing to invest in both its infrastructure and its staff to ensure it provides the best possible service to both its vendor and reseller partners.
“We launched Compass – our SAP CRM system – in late October. It gives us a 360-degree view of customers so we can really target our activity,” he said.
“We all know how difficult the past year has been, but we have managed to maintain headcount and keep it pretty much flat. We believe people are our strongest asset,” Gass said.
He also announced C2000’s intention to enter the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies to Work For competition next year, and lauded the firm’s persistence with its graduate trainee programme, which has seen six new recruits taken on board in 2009.
Gass ended his keynote with a theme that was later picked up by Lee Perkins, UK and Ireland country manager at C2000.
“We don’t need to change a lot this coming year, but you can expect ambition, innovation and passion. We are not going to be afraid to place our bets. Those willing to invest in us, we will invest in them,” he said.
Perkins later took to the stage to outline his vision for the future, stressing how areas earmarked for growth include SME, retail and Corporate/SI.
He added that the distributor’s Tomahawk strategy, described as a "£100m attack on multiple fronts" - such as key customers, credit elevation, TechSelect and people acquisition - had been a success, and Tomahawk 2 was already in progress for next year.
“We have added 200 new customers to the business every month for the last six months,” he said. “We want to work with vendors that are committed to us to drive the right activities to those customers.”
Perkins also lamented missing out on a recent acquisition – the most obvious guess would be Computacenter’s distribution arm CCD, which was eventually bought by Ingram Micro last month.
“We spent 100 days looking to acquire a business. We invested a lot and felt we could offer a lot to the vendors involved, but it did not go our way,” he said.
Perkins ended his keynote by echoing Gass’s words on loyalty.
“We are not going to partner with everybody. We will add new vendors to the business in the next year, but I don’t see that number of vendors growing,” he said. “We have to look very carefully at who we play with and who we don’t.”
He explained that factors such as level of loyalty and availability, and the number of distributors a vendor works with will all be taken into account.
“We have to be brutal about how we make our bets,” he said. “We will continue to make an investment in vendors that make an investment in us.”
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