Avnet Computer Marketing Group (ACMG) added and subtracted from its body count this month, as new technology supporting an expanded sales centre and a growing emphasis on its two-tier distribution business forced a personnel reshuffle.
ACMG is the holding company for two-tier distributor Avnet Partner Solutions and its single-tier reseller sister organisation, Avnet Enterprise Solutions.
Avnet would not confirm exact numbers but said that around 15 staff had been let go across the group, while another seven had been hired to bolster its wholesale business and the combined sales centre operations now supporting both divisions.
It is believed that all staff were released from the "single-tier" or reseller operation, which ACMG vice president and country manager Colin McKenna conceded had produced "disappointing" results last year.
McKenna said that new CRM, Web services and telephony technology is creating a new, more efficient business model for the group and consequently some staff became "obsolete". Conversely, it was necessary to bring new skills on board to support the new technologies and the rapidly expanding distribution business, which grew 60 per cent last year, McKenna said.
"What we have been doing is reorganising to improve the service of our single-tier and two-tier businesses.
"We are building the Avnet Sales Centre which will service both divisions with technical support and sales support. We have appointed a new marketing manager, a new CIO and have promoted the previous operations manager to head up the sales centre."
McKenna claimed the new year marked a significant turning point for the group.
"There has been fair bit of change at Avnet in January," he said. "We have invested heavily in new facilities and technologies, and we are excited about the way things are going. We are preparing for the turnaround that will come, and when it does we are in a great position to take full advantage of it."
McKenna said 2001 tallied up as a mixed year for the Avnet Group.
"The single-tier [reseller] business saw small growth of about four or five points which was a little disappointing, but it was a very tough climate," he said. "Yet our distribution business showed excellent growth of 60 per cent, although that was coming off a small base as the business is relatively new."
McKenna said he was planning on even stronger growth this year as the business focuses on its two vendor partners. Avnet Partner Solutions distributes the entire Enterasys range as well as IBM's IPX (AS400, RS6000 and Intel) servers, storage and software.
"[Avnet Partner Solutions] is a value distributor, not a volume one," he said. "We are not a Tech Pacific but what we do, we do very well."