In the hot seat: Challenging the education landscape

In the hot seat: Challenging the education landscape

Adrian Mead started on the distie side of the fence and is now the manager of A/NZ operations at Fujitsu PC Australia. This role, combined with his past experience, has given Mead the ability to see the big picture when it comes to selling in the channel. It's a handy attribute when some of your targets in 2006 include major educational facilities across Australia.

Tell us about your background

Adrian Mead (AM): I have only had two real jobs since I left university. My first was at a company called Computer Hardware Australia (CHA). At the time it was a Victoria-based distributor, but it started to expand dramatically around 1998/99 after it was bought out by some bigger players. This was the dotcom era and things got very hectic because the company wanted to float. Unfortunately, it wasn't successful and in early 2001 it fell over, one of the victims of that time.

Because we were a huge notebook player, most of us were then offered jobs at Ingram Micro, which was starting to work on Toshiba. I didn't take up the role at Ingram because after being at CHA for five-and-a-half years I decided I wanted to try something new. It took me six months to land a job I really wanted and I arrived at Fujitsu at the end of 2001.

How is Fujitsu's channel structured?

AM: We have two national distributors: Ingram Micro and Westan Australia. We chose Ingram Micro for its broad reach and Westan is there to pick up those smaller resellers that aren't necessarily on the Ingram Micro radar. We also have a couple of direct partners. The first is our sister company which is Fujitsu Australia. It's a multi-vendor house and will sell any brand to a customer and wrap services around it. The other company, again multi-vendor, is Commander. We have been with Commander for a few years now, primarily for our education business. That's a large and important part of our business and we're also expanding into corporate areas with them.

Are you happy with that structure?

AM: We are always open to change. I think you have to be in this market because it's changed so much from the last five years and again from the five years before that. I can't say anything now, but we are always open to looking at new ideas.

What's the biggest challenge when dealing with channel partners?

AM: I think they are all different and even though we are in the same industry, everybody has different requirements. They all want marketing and support and they all want more margin and bigger rebates, but you still have to structure it in different ways. It's all about figuring out the best way to work with these partners.

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