It's a channel-eat-channel world

It's a channel-eat-channel world

As lower margins and direct-selling tactics bite into their businesses, resellers are being forced to move beyond their traditional box-shifting role to ensure their survival.

The need to value-add has seen

one Canberra-based reseller, Office Productivity Centre (OPC), purchase a local Web development firm, SafetyWeb Internet Solutions.

OPC's managing director, John Macintyre, said the SafetyWeb acquisition would allow OPC to offer a more complete range of services.

"It's no secret the Internet and Web commerce is the way of the future. We've dabbled in it a bit, but this step will put us on the map in one lump sum. Now we've got a core team ofpeople and we're ready to expand."

OPC currently provides PCs to the federal government and software and network solutions for small businesses in Canberra and Southern NSW. Its product range includes IBM, Lexmark and Canon hardware.

"We turned over $20 million last year, 25 per cent to SMEs," Macintyre said. "We've done a lot of work with the back-end side of e-commerce, but not the Web development. The merger will allow us to provide a total package of services for any sort of company."

SafetyWeb's clients include the departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Macintyre said the purchase was finalised last week after only two weeks of negotiation.

"The subject first came up 12 months ago, but we let it rest. [Then when] it came up again two weeks ago, we decided to talk to them [SafetyWeb] and just fell in love. It's an opportunity for both companies.

"[Safetyweb] hadn't been looking but they recognised the opportunity. They now have a whole networking marketing team as a resource, plus access to all of our contacts. We have 300 network accounts they don't know about to put on their desks next week," Macintre added.

SafetyWeb moved into the OPC building a week ago, but will retain its own name and structure as a wholly owned subsidiary.

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