And then there were six. Compaq on Wednesday night revealed exclusively to ARN the six distribution partners that will see it into the next century.
Compaq has settled on three volume distributors, one "value" distributor, a storage distributor and a consumable distributor.
Express Data will focus on the niche market of high end Intel, Alpha and networking products, Simms will concentrate on storage and Daisytek on consumables, whilst Dicker Data, ITG/Ingram Micro and Tech Pacific will operate as general volume distributors.
However according to Compaq's general manager, business and consumer division, Greg Healy, the "channel is never static and our plans are never static." To this end there is some cross over between the distributor roles, with Tech Pacific and ITG coveting the value adding section and Express Data eyeing off the volume distribution arena. "We will give access to products as an organisation meets certain requirements and will work with companies who have expressed a desire to expand their focus," assures Healy.
Healy believes the consolidation of the channel is an ongoing process that might "in the short term cause disruptions, only time will tell. In the long term this will generate a better result for us and the partners we have selected. We couldn't have sustained what we had."
What Compaq had according to Healy was an inappropriate channel model and strategy which arose from the Digital acquisition. "We had to decide what are the products and services this new company has and what is it our new market segment needs."
Healy said the selection process has been arduous. "We assessed every distributor against six channel criteria- financial viability, ability to grow, focus on customer satisfaction, a viable customer proposition, defined target markets and the desire to work with the new Compaq."
Ultimately Healy concedes that "anyone who comes into the market needs to show us that they can add value. We never made any decisions on numbers or had any preconceived notions of what the process would uncover." Instead Healy believes that the revised distribution channel reflects the Australian market place as "each distributor has a unique proposition."