Oren Hartman, VP and GM, CDW Canada

Resellers faced another in a series of hurdles this year when U.S. direct sales giants CDW Corp. and Tiger Direct opened Canadian-branded divisions here.

It was a long-expected move for CDW after the company bought the Canadian assets of Microwarehouse Inc. late in 2003. Under vice-president

and Canadian general manger Oren Hartman, CDW Canada overhauled the IT system, opened a new online store with e-commerce features, moved to new Toronto offices, closed the warehouse so distributors can ship orders direct to customers and boosted the sales staff from 40 to 60 to attract the attention of SMB buyers.

That done, Mary Ann Yule, formerly vice-president of marketing at Toshiba Canada’s information systems group, was hired director of marketing here.

“”We spent a significant amount of ’04 building for next year,”” said Hartman on a recent trip from his base in Chicago to the Toronto office.

“”The investment in the people and facilities has been worth it.””

Still, he acknowledged that he hasn’t moved as fast as he’d like. “”We probably waited a little bit longer than we should have to hire some (sales) folks.”” In the summer he told CDN he hoped to have a sales staff of 75 by the end of the year. “”We worked around the university system,”” he explained, “”and might have got creative in finding some people earlier.”” Similarly, he said Yule might have hired earlier.

“”But overall I don’t think we’ve made a great deal of mistakes up here so far,”” he added.

Having set the foundation, he said next year will be about delivering.

“”Now’s it’s time to start going in full gear, so I think ’05 is going to about executing on sales, marketing and e-commerce.””

He won’t divulge the financial targets he has to hit, but let this slip: “”I’m confident that if we grow by 10 or 15 per cent next year, you won’t be calling me to be in the Top 25 Newsmakers.””

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com

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