BASED: North Ryde, NSW

BRANCH OFFICES: VIC, QLD, New Zealand and WA (office opening in November) PEOPLE: 57REVENUE: $135 million (including NZ)BRANDS: Seagate, Iomega, IBM, Adaptec, Intel, Kingston, Agate is another distributor which has achieved considerable growth and market share by specialising in a niche area of the market.

"We are focused on providing solutions for the server room," said managing director Hugh Evans. "We're very strong in storage and bring to the market best-of-breed products in that segment with a high level of service and value-add."

With strong South African backing, Agate has the muscle to become an even more prominent force in the Australian distribution arena. At the time of going to press, the company had just signed off a deal to acquire Advanced Pacific Peripherals, however Evans was adamant there was more to come.

"There will be more acquisitions," he said. "We would like to be one of the top four players in the Australian market."

Evans said that Agate's focus on the storage and server-room environment meant it could provide customers with outstanding service and value-add.

"We're focused on being the best distributor in our marketplace," Evans said.

"We have a customer service department which will warranty product within 24 hours. Should you have a problem, we will replace it and send it back within the 24 hours."

Agate also offers build-to-order configurations on its large storage solutions and its Intel whitebox servers, as well as options like direct ship.

"Any product in which you place an order up until 5:30pm we will ship that day. Not many companies let you place an order that late and guarantee next-day delivery - most have a 3:00pm cutoff time."

Agate is able to do this because of its advanced distribution and logistics system, Evans said.

"We can tell you exactly what time an invoice was generated, when the product was picked, what the serial number is, when is was packed, when it was dispatched and exactly who did it," Evan said.

The ability to access this information is being built into Agate's Web system, which already offers customers the ability to electronically order and configure products.

"You'll be able to look up the consignment note, see proof of delivery and check out your account status on the Web.

"It will truly be a full suite of electronic-commerce applications and that is being implemented now. A lot of it is available already, but more functionality comes onboard every week."

Evans boasted that because of its focus, Agate offered a very high level of free technical support, both pre- and post-sales.

For its larger customers, Agate offers a loyalty program with standard discounts, while it also runs a number of vendor-specific programs to reward loyal, high-achieving resellers.

(02) 9870 3600

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