INGRAM MICRO (3):Scorching Growth

With a 217 percent growth, Ingram Micro tops the CI Silver Club when it comes to growth. Moving into newer territories and putting the right system in place facilitated this.


The channel being the integral part of its business, concrete measures were taken to make the lives of partners easy. The company introduced IM-Pulse, an in-house ERP solution for online real-time information access and inventory control.


There was a change of guard recently at the top level with Chennai-based NY Prasad, Chief Operating Officer, taking over from Prasad Mamidanna. He reveals that Ingram Micro holds a place of pride among vendors for its global reach and excellent business practices. Leveraging on this special focus is being given to networking products.


New products were added to the stable during 1999-00 including Dax modems, PC Partner motherboards and Iomega back-up products. Ingram Micro-owned Magix PC brand brought in a revenue of over seven
crore.


Maximum revenue came from the sale of peripherals at 70.6 percent followed by systems at 21.4 percent. Packaged software contributed 1.7 percent of the revenue while networking products contributed 6.3 percent of the revenue.


The company has already made inroads into newer territory. Offices have been established at Bhubaneshwar, Lucknow, Indore, Coimbatore and Kochi. The process of setting up these new offices was made easy by a mega roadshow-cum-exhibition, held in Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi.


At the recent channel conference in Sun City, South Africa, the formation of the IM-Pro Club. There are already 100 members in the Club who will receive special attention from Ingram Micro to maximize revenues.


Despite its global leadership in distribution business, Ingram Micro isn’t much concerned about its third position in the CI Silver Club. According to Prasad, the company would strive to be the best distributor in the country, and not necessarily, the number one distributor.


Ingram Micro has taken a layered approach to marketing its products. It has seven business units. These include, computer components, peripherals and printers, computers and storage systems, networking solutions, supplies and consumables, application software and support services.


To focus on various channels, Ingram has created three independent business groups – reseller sales group for the commercial segment, electronic sales for the retail segment, and corporate and systems sales for systems integrators and original equipment manufacturers.


The channel is serviced through the SPARCS program, namely, solutions, presales, application sales, reconfigurations, customer care and support. The objective behind this program is to form a channel community, which is gets prompt warranty support and is motivated through vendor-driven special schemes and promotions.


Attrition rate was negligible for Ingram last year. The motivation levels of employees were maintained at high levels with constant training and incentive schemes. The company expects that the high retention rate will contribute to its fast growth in the long run.


For about a month last year, policy changes in taxation created a business bottleneck for Ingram. Prasad thinks that the government has to further liberalize taxation policies. He is of the opinion that the thinking process among various government departments has to change to understand the implications of changing technology.


Ingram Micro should see a major growth even this year. This will come from its own PC component brand VESTA and from additional channel partners. The VESTA brand of components is aimed at systems assemblers. The company has plans to bring about a major jump in the number of partners it has. It wants to reach out to 2,500 partners from the current 2,000.

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