Leading distributors have expressed doubts about HP plans to split its retail distribution into separate functions.
The vendor's local print boss, Christoph Schell, is also responsible for retail strategy. As previously reported in ARN, he is considering the introduction of a model similar to that employed in Europe. This would see distribution split into separate sales, credit and logistics functions.
Local Ingram boss, Guy Freeland, was not convinced such a model would work in Australia but said his company hoped to secure all three functions. "I'm not sure how you would segregate them but Ingram Micro would have far and away the biggest field force in terms of feet on the street," he said. "As for the provision of logistics and credit, they are our bread and butter so we would expect to meet or exceed competencies in those areas as well.
"I am not convinced splitting these functions out would be an efficient model. It might work in Europe but it might not be the same formula in Australia. I'm sure he [Schell] will make a good decision." Synnex managing director, Kee Ong, highlighted logistics and sales as the Melbourne-based distributor's key strengths. He also questioned the wisdom of separating these functions.
"HP has its own point of view but I don't believe you can split sales and logistics without erasing the value of distribution," he said. "We will concentrate on what we are good at."
While the model had been successfully implemented in Europe, this was no guarantee it could be applied locally, Cellnet managing director, Adam Davenport, said.
"It might be more difficult to make it work in Australia than in larger markets," he said. Schell has been assessing the relative strengths of current distributors and is expected to announce his plans this month.