The founders of CMS Computers and Zoostorm have revealed ambitious plans for their new system builder, Punch Technology, as it emerges from stealth mode.
Punch managing director Ian Fraser told CRN that he expects the outfit to be producing "multiple tens of thousands of units" annually, focusing initially on the configure-to-order space.
Along with Punch technical director Sion Roberts, Fraser co-founded CMS Computers, the firm behind PC builder Zoostorm. CMS was bought by distributor VIP in 2011.
Fraser said he and Roberts opted to leave CMS because launching a direct-selling PC builder such as Punch would have "ruined" Zoostorm's channel-only model. The duo's contractual commitments with VIP also ended in late 2015, he added.
"We could see within Zoostorm that there was an obvious market in configure-to-order PCs, and selling direct to the end user," he said.
"We were talking about whether we should relaunch another company or brand, but it would have ruined the model because the Zoostorm model - which we banged on about a lot - only sold through the channel. We could see the market, but we couldn't do anything about it without doing something completely different."
Punch is currently selling a limited number of systems through Amazon but a configure-to-order website set to launch in the coming weeks will soon form its main route to market.
A third-party logistics deal with Telford-based distributor Entatech is currently being finalised, Fraser added.
"We will also utilise [Entatech's] facility for our production," he said.
"In the past, Entatech has had a significant production facility, and we are tapping into that experience. It's not new to them, and it's not new to us; that's why we know that between the two of us we can pull it out as a brand fairly quickly."
Now for something slightly different
Punch will initially make only desktops, focusing on three pillars, namely design, performance and productivity.
"On the design front, we intend to source designs that are not currently on the market," Fraser said. "This will include gaming, but also other configure-to-order products, such as photography or people who need an awful lot of storage for videos - people who can't just buy off a shelf because they want something slightly different."
As the productivity pillar suggests, Punch may move into the B2B space in the longer term as it looks to ramp up volumes, and Fraser said that at some point such an offering could be sold through Entatech, although currently no distribution agreement exists.
Punch's average selling price is likely to be around £700 to £800, Fraser added.
"This is much higher than we were used to at Zoostorm, but it's quite a bit lower than some of the smaller players out there, some of which are aiming for £1,400."
Fraser and Roberts will work in the Wirral with their fellow directors, ex-CMS Computers managers David Quick and Dave Ayling (all pictured above).
In terms of volumes, Fraser said he expected Punch to sit closer to giant Wakefield-based custom PC builder PC Specialist, which turns over £38m, than niche outfits such as Utopia and DinoPC.
"We are certainly aiming for tens of thousands with the mix of products," he said. "Our main focus will be around the configure-to-order PC market and while that's not in the multiple tens of thousands on its own, that's not all of the product mix we are putting forward. We will aim the productivity pillar towards the business market, therefore increasing volumes."
Dave Stevinson, managing director of Entatech, said: "I can confirm that our services arm are finalising terms to utilise part of our channel configuration centre for a new contract."
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