San Diego — Tim Billing did not waste any time in his new role as vice-president of vendor management at Ingram Micro Canada, bringing the distributor’s Chicago distribution centre online for Canadian solution providers.
This move will give Ingram Micro Canada more than 800 vendors in its line card. Currently, the Canadian operation has only half that.
The strategy behind this move is two fold. First, Billing believes that with all these vendor products in stock it will open up the opportunity to have more complimentary solutions at the disposal of solution providers in Canada.
“This will become more important now as solutions become more complex and it gives our value added resellers and systems integrators more flexibility,” Billing said.
That flexibility is the second part of the strategy. By adding the Chicago distribution centre it speeds up its logistical services to Canadian solution providers. The company has already begun leveraging the Chicago facility with its Cisco Systems business.
Naomi Carmichael, vice-president of OnDeck Systems of Courtenay, BC, said she has noticed that most of her Cisco equipment was coming from Chicago.
“It is quicker than getting it from Singapore and so long as I get stock my customers really don’t care about it,” said Carmichael, a former Top 25 CDN Newsmaker.
Billing added there will be a phased-in approach to bringing the Chicago distribution centre online. When it’s fully operational Ingram Micro will have three distribution centres servicing the Canadian market.
He was unable to mention any of the new vendors that would be made available to solution providers because of this move. Billing did not dismiss the notion that Dell would be part of that new mix. However, Billing told CDN that he was not part of any discussions about stocking Dell at Ingram Micro.
“We look at our opportunities to add a new vendor from a financial and marketing standpoint and something we have to consider if it could have a negative impact with our existing vendor partners,” Billing said.
Today, the Chicago distribution centre will be offered on a limited basis. Billing is working on some authorizations and still needs to get sourcing permission from some of the new vendors to make this all happen.
“I’m looking at expanding our utilization of our US assets to better support our Canadian customers. We do source a lot of products from larger vendors and we do bring that up from Ingram Micro US. Currently, if we go out of stock on some product we leverage our Chicago distribution centre to bring that product up,” Billing said.
Peter McMahon, vice-president of Protek Systems of London, Ont., said he likes the move but wants to know who the new vendors are.
“I love the concept of more accessible gear with no delays,” McMahon said.
Tony Gorjan of Central Microsystems said that by adding all these new vendors it opens up a whole new field of opportunity. “Customers know these vendors exist and it will be good to have them available now in Canada to help us build on our product portfolio,” he said.
Don Conaby, president of Conpute, CDN’s Solution Provider of the year in 2007, said the better partners can simplify their logistics and consolidate from smaller distributors it will lower the cost of doing business.