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Ingram poised to further streamline EMEA back-office functions

American broadliner Ingram Micro is set to move more processes to its service centre in Sofia as its pan-EMEA back office reshuffle continues, according to EMEA executive vice president Mark Snider. Ought to Snider, the firm has been streamlining processes in its warehouses for some time, but is now putting more of a focus on speeding up office functions, which will in turn put more demand on its services centre in Sofia, Bulgaria. The distributor has hired a "Lean" European director and in-country staff responsible for improving office efficiency. "We have this balancing act where, at the same time, we have implemented 'Lean' which allows us to go through the processes we have and streamline them. We do that in the warehouses… but we are doing that in the offices now – we have hired a Lean leader for Europe… and we have hired Lean people in different countries. The idea is the back office processes will become more concerned, because in a lot of distribution you have complex processes coming from vendors and from the customers and we tend to try to fit them as opposed to forcing all of them to fit us", said Snider. The total headcount at the Sofia centre, which provides back-office functions and standardised support across EMEA, has risen to more than 1,000 employees, a number which is likely to increase as the firm looks to streamline office functions across its EMEA territories.

"We have over 1,000 [people] now in Sofia. It works really well. There are some advantages to it, it is so close to the rest of Europe, it is inexpensive, it is a fast flight to get there or for them to come to European countries," Snider said. "It is less expensive than the local market and the advantages, as they do more of these back-end functions for Europe as time goes on, they start being able to streamline some of the processes that go there. They get better at doing these processes, so it is definitely part of the longer-term strategy to lay that out. What you can't do with automation, we find [do via] that group. We probably will grow the headcount in Sofia, but I think even more we are streamlining more functions at the same time."

In the past, consolidating in-country support functions across Europe has meant Ingram has had to lay off regional staff. In 2014, the firm announced a restructure process which saw its Sofia centre expand at the potential expense of jobs. Snider said that the firm is instead concentrating on ramping up headcount in areas such as cloud and commerce and fulfilment. "It seems to be so far that the roles evolve into more of these strategic roles so they are less administrative. There have been cuts here and there, but when you take a look at the overall population in some countries, they have morphed into [being] more strategic and coming more into the cloud area as that continues to grow. The commerce and fulfilment solution area is a real growing area for us, so that is growing as well from a headcount perspective", concludes Mark Snider (source: Channelnomics Europe).

New vendors for Ingram Micro and MCR

Spain: the Advanced Solutions division of broadliner Ingram Micro has expanded its partnership with Symantec, to include Blue Coat systems in its security offer. The distributor is also from now on distributing anti-phishing solutions from PhishMe in the country. PC component and peripheral specialist MCR has started the distribution of J5create cabling and connectivity solutions as well as Hummer power supplies and cooling systems and Quick Media cabling and small accessories through its reseller network (source: Channel Partner España and Dealer World España).

News from ALSO, Brodos, Comm-Tec, Datastore, DexxIT, Ecom, Michael Telecom, Notebooksbilliger, Vivanco and Wentronic

DACH: Stefan Klingmair, who was Corporate VP Central Europe for Swiss distribution group ALSO, has left the company. He is not replaced and his tasks are taken over by CEO Gustavo Möller-Hergt. German AV specialist Comm-Tec has hired Samuel Haider as business manager for Western Austria. Samuel was previously working for BenQ, lately as display business manager. He works with Klemens Hinterberger, the sales manager for Austria. In Germany, telephony specialist Brodos has added insurance services from Wertgarantie to its portfolio1. Consumer electronics specialist DexxIT has inked a distribution deal with smart charger vendor Nonda2. PC component and peripheral specialist Ecom has been appointed official distributor by Gigabyte for its full motherboard offer. Telephony and telecom specialist Michael Telecom has started the distribution of discount mobile phone access provider Klarmobil.de3. Notebook broker Notebookbilliger has appointed Oliver Ahrens from Acer as its new CEO. Accessory and cabling specialist Wentronic has added UBtech smart robotics to its catalog. In Switzerland, broadliner ALSO has added Kramer digital signage solutions to its display catalog. Storage VAD Datastore has inked a distribution deal with Enterprise Open Source editor SuSE. Finally, accessory specialist Vivanco has added Titan display wall brackets to its offer (source: Telecom Handel 1, 2 and 3, E&W Österreich, CRN Deutschland, Channel Observer Deutschland, IT Reseller Schweiz, IT Market Schweiz, Inside Channels Schweiz).

Infoblox signs Exclusive Networks as ASC partner

Middle East: network control company Infoblox has signed a partnership agreement with network and security VAD Exclusive Networks, that enables the distributor to act as an Infoblox Authorised Support Centre (ASC) in the region. The distributor said the partnership is an extension of the firms' nine-year association and long-term partnership. Nathan Clements, managing director Exclusive Networks MEA, said: "as an Infoblox distributor over the past several years, we have developed an extensive reseller and customer base and have grown the company's presence in the region. By opening an Infoblox Support Centre, we can get closer to the partner base and provide more attractive value-added services in addition to the current professional services and training packages offered. Our aim is always to fill the gaps in our partners' services portfolio so they are able to offer a full services solution to their end users." According to the MD, Infoblox recognises the high quality of its support services and the importance of being able to deliver services "in country" and in the local dialect. "Therefore", he said, "it was logical that we extended our ASC agreement to cover the Middle East."

As per the terms of the agreement, the distributor will offer 24×7 telephone and email support, technology health checks, and a range of hardware replacement options. The company will also provide enhanced services such as an engineer on site in many locations across the Middle East. There will also be a range of tailored support solutions offered, said the firm. Clements added: "a team of certified engineers can support both new and existing installations of Infoblox customers, working closely with the vendor’s sales team to enhance the end-user's experience. The company will not compete with our resellers but will work closely with partners to help them 'white label' services and fill any gaps in their own service offerings."

The distributor said to become an Authorised Support Centre, the firm had to extensively train and certify a number of technical specialists across the Middle East: "this was in order to meet the high standards Infoblox expect from an ASC, in addition to the traditional sales, technical and revenue obligations required to be an Infoblox partner."

Alexander Foroozandé, channel director MEA for Infoblox, said: "we are excited to partner with a regional powerhouse offering superior localised support. The Exclusive Networks and Infoblox partnership has entered a new phase and partners and customers will experience the benefits including improved call handling efficiencies, reduced communication delays, and accelerated time to resolution."

More business for ASBIS

Ukraine: broadliner ASBIS has unveiled new, expanded distribution deals with ADATA (external SSDs)1 and Apple (complete portfolio)2 (source: Komputernoye Obozrenye Ukraina 1 and 2).