Avnet Technology Solutions Launches Strategic Expansion into Auto ID market

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Transaction with Printex Europe Positions Avnet as Leader in Growing RFID Market

Avnet Europe Comm VA, a global distributor of computer and embedded technologies, recently announced a strategic transaction to expand into the growing RFID market by acquiring certain assets of Printex Europe s.a., the largest distributor of automatic identification solutions in Belgium, France and Italy. Printex works closely with leading wireless manufacturers including Intermec, Symbol and Datalogic, distributing their products to around 1,500 European resellers and integrators. This strategic move will solidify Avnet Technology Solutions' position at the forefront of the rapidly expanding market for the distribution of mobile wireless solutions for efficient data capture across the entire value creation chain, particularly in the area of RFID technology. Over the next six months, the Printex business will be integrated into Avnet's Applied Computing Solutions division. This division already has wireless terminals, handheld devices, barcode printers and scanners in its portfolio, and the acquisition of certain of Printex assets will enable it to add the bandwidth, innovation and variety of manufacturers that resellers demand.

"Avnet wants to be the leading distributor in the burgeoning RFID market from the very outset," stresses Sukh Rayat, Vice President Avnet Applied Computing Solutions and Avnet Computing Components. This move gives us the right combination of technologies and services to be resellers first choice for wireless solutions.

As the price of RFID tags has started to fall, the market is no longer the exclusive preserve of the OEMs and a few major retailers. Ever greater numbers of smaller and non-retail companies are starting to use RFID solutions. This development in the market calls for value-added distributors who are able to offer the resellers and integrators - who are the primary point of contact for smaller companies buying the technology - a broad range of products from a selection of manufacturers as well as comprehensive technical support. In addition, the boundaries between automatic identification (Auto ID) and data-capture technology and more conventional IT solutions are becoming increasingly blurred under the overall heading of value-chain management. Consequently, companies that have previously operated purely as IT resellers and software houses are now seeking the support of distributors to enable them and their customers to gain a foothold in the Auto ID technology of the future. "We have been gearing ourselves up to take on this role for a long time - both through organic growth and development as well as through strategic moves, such as today's transaction with Printex Europe," adds Rayat.

The integration of Printex's European business enables Avnet Technology Solutions to expand its existing wireless mobility business into a multiple-manufacturer portfolio of Auto ID solutions incorporating all the latest technological innovations. Printex has distribution contracts covering barcode technology and the leading RFID and smart-tag solutions for wholesalers, retailers, industrial companies and logistics service providers. These contracts will be transferred seamlessly to Avnet's Applied Computing Solutions division. "In the future, we will be able to propose more innovative alternatives to resellers, systems houses and integrators who currently still offer their customers supply-chain-management solutions based on barcode technology," commented Bernard Thomas, Regional Sales Director Southern Europe, Avnet Applied Computing Solutions and Avnet Computing Components, enthusiastically.

Avnet Technology Solutions hopes to score even more points with resellers by offering comprehensive financing packages for its high-value Auto ID solutions. "You first have to invest money before you can reap the rewards," points out Rayat, "which is why we consider it part our job to provide not just technical, but also financial support to enable our customers to enter this fast-growing market. Our financial solutions include leasing packages that resellers can pass on to their end customers."

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