In a move that could wreak havoc within Hewlett-Packard's distribution channel, the PC manufacturer has appointed a distributor designed to circumvent warehouse and inventory overheads.
Michael Bosnar, the 10-year veteran of Prion and later Siltek, has re-emerged in the channel and to head up eXeed, an HP-only distributor that is out to move stock quickly through SME and regional resellers at the most competitive prices available.eXeed is set up as a marketing and sales company that orders and ships HP's commercial line of products, including servers, storage and laser printers, directly from HP's back-end system, effectively negating the need to invest in its own logistics and warehousing infrastructure.
The concept, according to its managing director and founder Bosnar, is to have a distributorship that is responsive enough to cater to around 600 resellers that buy HP products once or twice a month, a group he claims feels forgotten by the large national distributors.
"A lot of these companies have large infrastructure costs," Bosnar told ARN. "But what's been missing is ease of doing business."
Bosnar has lodged an innovative patent on the business model and is optimistic the company will be turning a profit within three months. eXeed is also being backed by equity partners based on a 10-year business plan, with all profits being reinvested into the business for the first 18 months. eXeed's Melbourne office began trading yesterday with a Sydney office to open shortly. Bosnar expects to open a Brisbane office by October.
While Bosnar was quite clear he is not out to bastardise the market by undercutting other distributors, he did confirm the company could be used as a clearinghouse by HP to fire-sale excess stock "that [HP has] earmarked to move".
"What we want is good business with loyal customers that pay," said Bosnar. "Of course we'll ensure resellers have the advantage of the best deals going around."
Meanwhile, HP has leapt to the defence of its channel strategy claiming the new appointment will not conflict with its existing distributors. Greg Trigger, HP's channel and alliance manager, told ARN the virtual-distributor idea had been floated with HP's existing distributors for some time, but only now has anyone taken up the challenge.
Trigger said the manufacturer has identified "several" distributor business models designed to reduce the inventory left in the channel at any given time, while making it faster and cheaper for resellers to purchase stock.
He argues the move is also designed to further penetrate a greater number of resellers that wouldn't otherwise sell much HP gear.
"We want to convert these resellers from selling white boxes from other vendors to selling HP," Trigger said. "At the end of the day, we have to ensure we get the maximum coverage in the market."
Photograph: Michael Bosnar