Laval, Que. – If you ask any solution provider to guess which buying group is the largest more often than not they will say its Ingram Micro Canada’s VentureTech Network.
But in terms of sheer size Groupe Millenium Micro is the largest in Canada with 240 reseller owners as members. Those members have 258 storefronts or office locations across Canada. The buying group, which got started in 2003 is currently in eight provinces and one territory. They just signed their first reseller in Vancouver and have at least one member in each province except for Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Yukon and Nunavut.
Groupe Millenium Micro president Carl Paquin told CDN at its annual Millenium Micro Mega Convention that the strategy to go national has paid off, but the company has not yet reached its goal to be in every province and territory in Canada.
“Our leaders want partners outside of the province of Quebec. We have a director based in Toronto for Ontario and Western provinces and another director in Quebec for that province and the Maritimes. We now have 60 locations in Ontario and we have coverage throughout the province,” Paquin said.
He added that Groupe Millenium Micro started in Quebec and that the Quebec base remains important but its membership has customers outside the province and wanted to work more cost effectively with other solution providers in Canada.
“Most of our members have SMB businesses and these SMB businesses have the same kinds of needs for let’s VoIP if they were in Vancouver or in Quebec. That’s the technology challenge and we share all of our information especially on how to sell,” Paquin said.
The annual convention was held over three days and it welcomed more than 600 attendees from Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. There were also more than 90 vendors displaying their solutions during the event.
Michel Girard, a director at InFynia Technologies, a solution provider based in Ville St. Laurent, Que., said that Groupe Millenium Micro provides great exposure for his company to the members of the buying group. “We find this to be a great way to present new technology solutions and products and it’s also an opportunity to meet senior executives and customers through the province of Quebec,” Girard said.
Groupe Millenium Micro also partners with 12 distributors. On hand at the event were ASI, Synnex Canada and Tech Data Canada. And, Paquin wants to make it clear that his buying group does not compete with VTN, TechSelect or the newly created VARnex. He said it’s complimentary. Besides partnering with vendors and distributors Groupe Millenium Micro partners with services companies such as banks, financial institutions, human resources, insurance companies and transportation companies.
“If one of our members signs up with Purolator by himself they would not have gotten a better price than we can. To Purolator we are a big customer because we do more than $500,000 in freight with them,” Paquin said.
In terms of back end rebates from vendors, all Groupe Millenium Micro members become an Elite Program member from LG Electronics Canada, for example. Most of its member would find it hard to sell more than $300,000 per quarter on LG monitors. But, by joining the buying group they are automatically recognized as an LG Elite Program partner and will share in those back end rebates as well as get 30 day price protection.
Another benefits is the Groupe Millenium Micro can get in on large vendor buys for its members. For example, if Microsoft or Asus is having a deal on Surface devices or Asus hybrid notebooks, the buying group can put in a large order of 2,000 to 5,000 units and they enable its members to request quantity through a purchase order all through a distributor.
Groupe Millenium Micro through its national strategy has grown from 35 members in 2006 and 20 suppliers to where it is today. The buying group was started by Pierre Laurin in 2003 and Paquin became a partner in 2006.
Last year the group produced more than $300 million in revenue and is set to reach $360 million by the end of 2013.
One of the more fascinating aspects of Group Millenium Micro is that 160 of its members are privately own businesses with several employees. “These are the types of people who have one store in a region and they take care of retail, they take care of small business, the schools, government and they support the whole community overall. They would be virtually ignored by the vendors if they were not part of Groupe Millenium Micro. Like our member in Bathurst, N.B., they do not have any vendors going to see them. But it’s an opportunity for vendors to come here and see them at the show. These dealers belong to our community and they are a big part of our family,” Paquin said.