I was interviewing a vendor executive the other day and I ask about distribution strategy. This executive, who I decided to keep anonymous because of context reasons, mentioned Promark Technology.
I said “Promark who?” I never heard of Promark Technology. They supposedly are doing business in Canada. According to its Web site, Promark is a value added distributor based in Annapolis Junction, Maryland, which is famous for the B&O Railway for those fans of game Monopoly, Promark’s focus is in data storage and electronic document imaging. The have based their business on the two-tier distribution model. They do have some well-known names on its line card such as Lefthand Networks, Kodak, Panasonic and NEC.
The company says that by leveraging its direct relationships with these vendor partners they can then provide solutions for resellers. Not really sure how that can define them in the market place since it’s a basic service from most distributors.
They also claim to help resellers with sales, technical problems and with quick quotes.
Promark has offices in Colorado, Illinois, New Hampshire, Oregon and Washington states, but does not have a presence in Canada.
So I ask why do business up here if you are not willing to put roots in the community?
I have never understood this tactic from businesses. It’s the eBay mentality in my mind. Just because you have a Web site doesn’t mean you can properly serve a country such as Canada or any other.
Promark should take the lead of a D&H for example. They took considerable risk and entered the Canadian market by hiring people and opening up a warehouse and office. D&H at the time was roundly criticized by many in the industry since Canada was saturated with distributors. I remember reseller Frank Abate of Infinity Technologies saying that Canada does not need another distributor, but can always use a good distributor. I believe that by establishing roots in Canada it showed that D&H was serious about serving this market and it resonated with the channel community.
That’s what Promark should do if they are serious about servicing the channel community in Canada.
If they want a point of reference they should look no further than with GE Access Graphics, a well known Unix distributor who had a shadow office in Canada. A shadow office in case you are wondering is an office in Boulder, Colo. (GE Access Graphics headquarters), manned by executives who were dedicated only to serving the Canadian market. It never worked in my opinion since those executives logged hundreds and thousands of air miles around Canada. They eventually became part of Avnet (NYSE: AVT), which has a large Canadian presence and are doing quite well these days.
I know I am being heavy handed with a company I have never heard of, but I have seen this so often that it still surprises me to this day when any company tries to carpetbag an entire country.
Peripherals at Ingram Micro
Ingram Micro (NYSE: IM) has a new promotion for Lexmark Toner products. The distributor launched the Lexmark Toner Advantage Program, which is only available to authorized solution providers in the U.S. for now. The Lexmark Toner Advantage Program enables channel partners to lock in a recurring revenue stream by extending a three-year price guarantee to their customers on select Lexmark toner supplies.
V7, the exclusive house brand monitor for Ingram Micro announced a new line of mounts and stands for flat-panel TVs, monitors and projectors.
I remember when Ingram launched the V7 and how it upset many of its monitor vendor partners specifically NEC, but it looks like both have been able to function together in the market place after all these years.