Multimedia Technology has started building systems based on Shuttle small form factor (SFF) PCs in a moves to broaden out its business model .
Purchasing manager, David Wilson, said the Melbourne-based hardware distributor had historically stayed away from the traditional components and whitebox markets. But increasing turmoil and turnover in the IT distribution industry had prompted it to look into new ways of generating revenue, he said.
The company had opted to distribute Shuttle's range of barebones units last year with a view to eventually constructing complete systems in-house, Wilson said.
"We had a few enquiries to ask why we weren't building machines," he said. "We decided that now was the right time because we had the right box that offered something different."
MMT was awarded a contract to distribute the vendor's products in October, alongside competitor, Altech Computers. It is now offering fully built systems based on 12 of its 15 products. All will be branded under the Shuttle name.
Wilson claimed the distributor had seen sales double every month since commencing sales of the barebones units last year. "We have started from a small base admittedly, but it's starting to take off," he said.
Despite concerns of ever-decreasing margins across the whitebox market, Wilson said MMT had been happy with the profits made so far.
"We see it as a good, solid business," he said. "The margin is slightly higher than what we expected to make. If these were all we sold, we wouldn't go broke."
Wilson attributed this to the aesthetic qualities of SFF machines compared to the standard desktop PC.
Higher-end Shuttle models had proved to be most popular above those targeted at the price sensitive consumer, he said. MMT would continue to sell the Shuttle products as standalone items alongside its fully built machines.
Wilson forecast local monthly sales of the units from MMT and Altech would soon reach 1000.
"We expect to end up with a 70/30 split of configured and barebone units," he said.
MMT has no plans to expand its system building business beyond the Shuttle range, Wilson said.
"We do Panasonic Toughbooks, Sony Vaio and BenQ Joybooks," he said. "But there's not a lot of future in selling notebooks - the margins aren't worth it."