Retail conglomerate Leading Edge has outgrown its current OEM arrangements with small Sydney firm Paradigm and instead will source up to 1000 PCs a month from Australian manufacturer Optima.
Initially, Optima will build about 700 Leading Edge-branded PCs a month, eventually ramping production up to about a 1000 units a month.
The deal was hammered out over two months and will begin with the launch of a new desktop before Christmas, said Ross Whitelaw, general manager of Leading Edge Computers.
Production of other standard and build-to-order desktops and servers will commence in January, he added.
Optima will have exclusive building rights to this new range of Leading Edge- branded PCs that will be `totally different to what they have at the moment', said Cornel Ung, managing director of Optima.
Paradigm will continue to act as a supplier of notebooks and components said Whitelaw, who had only praise for the job the manufacturers had done. `They have served us very well but our volume is growing at such a rate that we need to find a new partner.'
This is the first OEM arrangement Optima has undertaken in over seven years, according to Ung, and came about because `retail has the potential to grow significantly in the future because of Internet requirements'.
Leading Edge is itself growing exponentially, recently signing its one hundredth member (see story on page 32).
In return, Ung said that Optima could assure Leading Edge of reliable supply in terms of quality, quantity, time and price, through its new Silverwater manufacturing plant that currently produces 300 units a day per shift and is easily capable of more. Despite this capacity, Ung said there are no plans to actively seek out more OEM contracts.
`Our focus has always been on business education and we have just com- pleted another major deal,' said Ung, in reference to a Department of Education and Services tender that will be completed in two weeks.
Ung also expects Optima to be a strong contender for a NSW Department of Training contract due to be put out for tender early next year.
It will involve the provision of 20,000Ð30,000 PCs.