Avnet Computer Marketing has retrenched eight staff from its Sydney office and three staff from its Melbourne office in a company "realignment".
It is the second such round of reductions the company has undertaken this year, after it slashed 15 staff from its payroll in January.
In this round of cuts, most of the staff was axed from either the company's enterprise solutions (direct) division or from its back-office administrative staff. Managing director Colin McKenna said he had to reduce headcount as the direct-selling side of the business was not growing as well as he had hoped. Most of those sales staff retrenched were focused on low-end Intel-based products (desktops and low-end servers). McKenna said the business division remains strong in high-end servers and storage.
According to McKenna, the staff has been "to some extent replaced by technology". Avnet has recently completed the install of a new CRM system and other customer contact technology.
"We are not just reducing headcount, we're also redefining roles," McKenna said. "Much more of the sales work will be done internally over the phone. External sales staff will only be pushed out for complex solution selling."
Sources close to Avnet claim the company's Partner Solutions distribution business, which distributes hardware from the likes of IBM and Enterasys, has also been gradually reducing staff over the past six months (slashing approximately six employees). McKenna said this was not the case and claimed the distribution business was achieving year-on-year growth of over 200 per cent.
McKenna said the distribution business is hiring three new staff, one of which has already started. The other two will join the team in January, he said.
"It is actually a net reduction of eight staff from a total of 64 -- a 12 per cent reduction," he said. "We advertised the new positions internally and externally. Ideally, we would have liked to have filled the new positions from within the company, but hiring people with the right skills becomes an issue."
McKenna is confident that the continual reinvention of the business over the past two years will pay off in the long term. "We have experienced a lot of changes but they were all planned changes," he said. "We have refocused on our core competencies and set the scene for an exciting 2003."