After more than a year as Senior Director of DC/POS EMEA at Ingram Micro, Ernesto Schmutter takes stock, showing that plans to expand activities on the markets of neighbouring European countries and to open up new target groups have been successful. A good basis for further expanding the company's proven concept for success from Germany in the future.
The commencement of Ingram Micro's DC/POS business with four acquisitions between 2006 and 2008 marked the beginning of a success story which was gradually expanded to other European markets. DC/POS business is a prime example of how comprehensive solution areas can be developed based on the existing infrastructure, and shows how a broadline distributor can establish itself successfully in specialised areas. Financing and logistics are consistent with Ingram Micro's core business; sales and service are fundamentally different, as Auto-ID products are exclusively deployed in B2B applications and clients require more intensive support during integration of equipment and solutions. Since March 2011, Ernesto Schmutter has been responsible for the DC/POS Unit's EMEA business, drawing on his long years of experience in distribution. "Our EMEA business has achieved outstanding success with respect to sales development and customer base expansion. Following the conclusion of the latest acquisition, we were able to more than double our turnover and now serve more than 12,000 customers," says the Senior Director, taking stock. "I am particularly pleased that every project we have taken on has become self-supporting from the very first quarter, enabling us to open up further countries, channels and target groups in the course of our growth strategy."
The list of countries in which Ingram Micro's DC/POS Unit has its own sales offices is long. In 2011, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland were opened up, activities in Eastern Europe were intensified, and those responsible already have their sights set on further countries. Expansion is taking place organically, with growth being realised in different dimensions. Existing contracts are being expanded and new manufacturers won. New countries are being opened up and shares in existing markets expanded. One special characteristic of the DC/POS Unit is that local sales offices maintain direct contact with customers in each country. The success of this approach is also demonstrated by the fact that manufacturers who previously organised their sales independently are now working on marketing models which for the first time also include distribution. Efforts are also being made to expand cooperation among manufacturers. In this context, the DC/POS Unit benefits from Ingram Micro's broad customer base. Last year, 14 new individual agreements were concluded, in some cases expanding distribution rights to the entire area. Furthermore, cooperation agreements were reached with completely new manufacturers such as NCR, Bixolon and Janam.
The rapid growth of the customer base also has several dimensions. Thanks to the processing of flexible offers and customised portfolios as well as the expansion of product availability, it has been possible to reach reseller groups which were previously not involved in DC/POS business. Moreover, it was possible to reach both specialised DC/POS resellers wishing for a large, financially stable partner as well as corporate resellers who were glad to associate themselves with the portfolio expansion.
The customer approach is integrated throughout the EMEA region: the sales structure goes hand in hand with a cross-border marketing mix. A uniform approach is guaranteed by the fact that all marketing tools are developed centrally by the DC/POS team at the Wallenhorst branch and are then made available to other countries. Last year, the customer magazine IM.tec was relaunched, as was the website www.ingrammicro-dcpos.de. This boasts a mix of background stories on key issues, such as healthcare and mobility, and concrete product information. IM.tec appears in German and French and will soon also appear in English; further foreign language versions are planned. Those who prefer to inform themselves online make use of the IM.pact newsletter which by now appears in 17 European countries. All these media are not simply translated; their content is also adapted to each specific market.