Trading places

clock • 3 min read

Andrew Rabin swapped a City broker job for a life in IT and office products distribution

What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
My first job was on a youth training scheme in the City, as a trainee Lloyds insurance broker. I then moved to one of the largest Lloyds brokers in the City as a special risks claims broker. A friend of mine was working at Northamber, and thought I would do well there so went for a day to have a look. I loved the mad and loud ‘trading floor' feeling, and started a month later.

Planes, trains or automobiles?
Automobiles because I love a powerful, well built car. It makes all the difference to a journey.

What is your favourite joke or the one you heard most recently?
Two beef burgers walk into a bar. The barman says: ‘Sorry, we don't serve food.'

 "In my dreams …"
... I've won the lottery and can slow down.

What was your best business trip ever?
Cannes, with Sony for the launch of the original Sony Vaio laptops. With a huge inflatable toy and party on the beach!

What was the best holiday you ever went on?
My honeymoon -- my first ever cruise (to the Caribbean) and I am now hooked for life on cruising. How fantastic to wake up at a different destination every day of your holiday.

If you had a week to live, what would you do?
With my wife and children on holiday, probably a cruise.

"I never…"
... turn up late for a meeting

 "I always…"
... see the funny side of things

Will we see businesses take green ICT more seriously this year?
Green is no longer just the latest fad. But resellers need to lead by example and show where environmental initiatives can also help improve efficiencies and costs.

Sustainability must also be tackled throughout the supply chain. For example, sourcing locally may seem like a great way to reduce the carbon footprint of a particular product. But the same product shipped from further afield may have been manufactured in a more environmentally efficient way so a more holistic approach to sustainable sourcing is required.

Print or online news?
Print. Even though I regularly read the news online I still get comfort from reading a newspaper on a Sunday morning.

Do you use social media?
For personal use, on Facebook, I've caught up with all the gossip 20 years after losing contact with some good old friends. For business, I am also an avid LinkedIn fan as this is great for business contacts.

Will the economic recovery continue?
We are in recovery mode as a country. Changes the government are bringing in will help increase investment by large companies in UK. Sales are increasing in IT and business machines even though the margins are still being eroded.

What does the channel most need to learn this year?
The channel needs to come out of its comfort zone. Resellers can no longer rely solely on loyalty or reputation as cost stays at the forefront of customer minds. Consider what value you can add, whether through support, service, or a diversified product offering.  

Do vendors do enough to help their channel?
Resellers are dependent on far more than vendors to drive sales. Wholesalers, vendors and third parties must get better at working together to provide the best service to the customer. From a wholesaler perspective, our aim is to help our resellers become everything for the office, providing them with advice and marketing materials on everything from business machines to facilities management in one place.

Is IT well taught in schools?
Yes. My kids are both proficient in IT even though they are only eight and four years old. My oldest shoots around on a PC like she has been using it for years.

Andrew Rabin is merchandising manager for business machines at Spicers UK

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