Tech Data's newly appointed credit services director, Nick Tiltman, says his return to the distributor after an eight-year hiatus should be taken as a sign that it intends to be "bold" and "not risk-averse" in its credit strategy.
Tiltman headed up Tech Data's credit strategy until 2009, when he left to run his own consultancy.
Talking to CRN, Tiltman said that Tech Data is looking to use credit as a growth tool for its partners, despite uncertainties such as Brexit continuing to loom large over the channel.
"None of us yet know what we've gotten ourselves into…But, in good times and bad there are opportunities, and my job is to manage that risk, not to minimise it, and to make sure our customers during this transition period in the next few years have sufficient capital," he said. "Our credit lines are a significant part [of that] to conduct business effectively so we can all grow, and all come out of this is in a good place," Titman explained.
"What I want to hear around the industry is that Tech Data is viewed as having world-class credit…I'm not an old fashioned debt collection, risk-averse credit guy!"
Tiltman said that Tech Data's recent acquisition of Avnet Technology Solutions has expanded the size of the business he is helming.
"We have a huge amount of integration work to do with two large companies coming together with lots of credit limits and lots of customers, and that is my job coming in here to run that team," he said.
Tiltman added: "In the past, distributors were seen very much as just box shifters, ten to 15 years ago…but now because of the complexity of distribution - where we have specialist units, dealing with the Azlan brand and Datech and Maverick doing AV and these kinds of things - where I see distributors and credit now is that distributors have become what we would call a trusted advisor in terms of their knowledge and their experience."
He added that challenging markets, especially, could benefit from this kind of advisory influence, highlighting the retail vertical.
"Obviously if a sector is having a particularly hard time we have to look at them in more detail. The retail sector is having a bit of a hard time at the moment. Some incumbent retailers haven't moved quickly enough to become proper online outfits, as well as just having a high street presence."
However, Tiltman was more optimistic about Tech Data's SMB partners.
"You take the smaller guys who have not been in business so long, and they are the people who need help and advice and access to credit, and growing those SMB resellers is a huge part of what I'm looking to do in the next three to 12 months.
"We will make sure our customer base has the access to the world class-credit that they need."
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