In January, networking distributor Westcon appointed Peter Williams as its general manager to head up its operations in Australia.
When he came on board Williams pledged to help resellers sharpen their competitive edge as one of his primary goals, commenting: "In today's competitive environment, it is crucial for a distributor to make the time to understand its reseller partner's business."
To this end Westcon carried out a survey of its resellers in February, a strategy initially proposed by Marie-Claude Polglaze from Lucent Tech-nologies and Andrew McDuie from Westcon Australia, with the aim of finding out how Westcon Australia was viewed by its resellers.
The survey looked at Westcon Australia's key strengths and weaknesses. It reported: "Westcon's customer service is generally . . . of a very high standard; they are viewed to be price competitive, and the customer contact database was extremely accurate."
What resellers did ask for when surveyed was more news about products and trade promotions (as opposed to corporate news), and information to be distributed solely via the Internet.
According to Williams, Westcon was providing information over the Internet "very well" in the US. He hopes to provide a similar service to resellers here in one of the upcoming quarters, tailored to the requirements of resellers in Australia.
As to the future, Williams told ARN he wants to grow the business each reseller conducts with Westcon Australia and plans "better service and better contact with those people". Currently, he said it has 150 active resellers who do business with Westcon Australia on a regular basis.
He views Westcon as a specialist distributor, differentiating itself because of this, its technical support and high stock availability due to its warehousing. "I think I want the specialisation to become more well known," Williams said.