Ingram makes bold moves into POS market

Thanks to its acquisition of EMJ Data Systems several years ago, Synnex – at least in Canada – has long been associated with data capture and point-of-sale solutions. But Ingram Micro has been making moves to establish itself as a global DC/POS specialist, and now holds the number-two position in the U.S. and Europe in terms of market share.While Ingram has made strategic investments in North America, Europe and China over the past few years, the distie couldn’t quite figure out how to penetrate the market in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

And this is a market that’s still growing. China and India, in particular, have developing retail markets that require this technology, according to the IHL Group, meaning the Asia-Pacific is one of the few places in the world where we’re going to see a near-term increase in POS shipments. The analyst firm expects the Asia-Pacific POS market will be as good or better than it was in 2008, which saw a growth rate of about five per cent. Other than Japan, Australia and New Zealand, most Asia-Pacific countries are growing markets for this technology.

Initially, Ingram Micro was trying to compete against Asia-Pacific’s leading distributor of DC/POS solutions, Vantex Technology Distribution Ltd., which specializes in retail POS, barcoding, cash register, data capture and wireless products.

But now, Ingram has decided to buy its former rival, since parent company ProvencoCadmus says this will help with its “recapitalization strategy” – a fancy way of saying it needs to reduce its bank debt.For Ingram, this works out well – the acquisition of Vantex adds Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore to its repertoire. And Vantex already has a solid track record in these countries.

Surprisingly, there’s little overlap in terms of products and vendors between the two disties, with a few notable exceptions, such as Epson and IBM. And, there’s little crossover in their respective partner communities, since Vantex targeted a lot of niche verticals. This means Ingram gains access to new partners, as well as a breadth of products from Motorola, Wasp, Toshiba, MYOB, NEC, Cherry and Datalogic.

This is part of Ingram’s overall plan to grow its global presence in this market, which it’s been doing through small, strategic acquisitions of key players over the past five years. Since 2004, Ingram has acquired six DC/POS distributors operating in 15 countries – Vantex is the seventh, adding five more countries to its geographic reach.

Clearly, even an economic downturn hasn’t slowed down Ingram’s plans to dominate in this market. In fact, the recession may have given it a fortuitous opportunity to acquire a former rival.

Vantex will operate as a division of Ingram and retain its branding. Vantex’s current CEO will head the newly formed division, and all 121 employees are expected to move over with him. For Ingram, it’s one more step toward dominating the DC/POS market.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Vawn Himmelsbach
Vawn Himmelsbach
Is a Toronto-based journalist and regular contributor to IT World Canada's publications.

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