Three months on: Seventy days in the life of a new mobile computing distributor

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Varlink, a new IT distributor, sprung into being in December 2005. The new reseller-dedicated supplier was officially launched by IT distribution specialist Mike Pullon. The promise then was to satisfy resellers' demands in a rapidly growing mobile technology market. Indeed, Varlink's team has kept ears to the ground, listened to the market and adapted its offers to the channels evolving needs.

As new player in a fast moving industry Varlink isnt aiming to be better at it, but position itself as doing it differently from other distributors in providing UK-available, margin-making products and establishing new service-level benchmarks.

Sabine Kelly, the company's marketing manager, presents a log of milestones in the fledgling firm's successes to date.

16 January 2006 : Adding airtime contracts to product set
As a growing number of sales, service and inspection applications can be developed with Varlink distributed hardware, the company approached a number of communications solutions providers with the aim of providing customers with a range of airtime contracts for voice, data and voice over data applications.

Bill Gordon is technology director at Varlink and is responsible for a continually improving the companys relationships with its suppliers. Commenting on this partnership, Gordon said: Many of the PDAs and industrial terminals that we distribute have GPRS/GSM capabilities and some, including the Opticon PHL5400 are supplied with telephone call software and a headset. Adding airtime contracts to the Varlink product offering makes perfect sense.

20 February 2006: Landing Casio PDA deal
Commenting on signing this distribution agreement, Mike Pullon, managing director, said: We are very excited about this partnership. This is a key milestone in our company development, and the Casio terminals offer a perfect fit to our product offering. This partnership opens for us tremendous business opportunities within the mobile computing market which we specialise in, with the convergence of rugged, ergonomic terminals offering mobility for accurate data capture applications.

Gordon added: We are well aware of the increasing adoption of mobile technology in the market place and the rapid shift in working practices across the majority of vertical markets out there. Our customers had requested products for a couple of applications that our current product range didnt cover so we researched the market and approached Casio. These units arent just mobile computers, they come equipped with bar code scanners, optional digital camera, receipt printer. They are a perfect example of where we see this market growing.

28 February 2006: Launch of resource rich e-commerce website
Using, resellers can view and download product specifications, check stock availability, track orders, post technical questions and place orders. Access to reseller-pricing is PIN protected with enduser visitors being restricted to seeing manufacturer guide prices.

We believe that this site will prove to be an extremely valuable resource for IT resellers. The site has been designed to mirror the functionality of our leading edge ERP system, in which the company has been investing significantly since day 1. It is simple to use and at the same time provides the information that is routinely required by resellers to win and retain business, said Kelly.

6 March 2006: Announcing Windows Mobile 5.0 and CE.Net compatibility for TracerPlus data software
The introduction of the TracerPlus 3.1 version is extremely significant in bridging a gap in Varlinks product offering. The TracerPlus software from PTS brings a fresh approach to data capture software and is ideal for resellers getting into hand held computing solutions. With PTS, customised stock and asset routines for PDAs can be created in minutes and no programming knowledge is needed.

Brad Horn, PTS, said: Were very excited about this release. With Varlink distributing a range of Windows Mobile 5.0 and CE.NET terminals, we can now reach a greater deal of users who are already familiar with these devices and offer them cross platform and multi-brand opportunity. Already supporting the Palm operated Aceeca rugged waterproof terminal and Opticon Pocket PC terminals, our TracerPlus software can now be deployed to their Casio and Datalogic industrial PDAs offering resellers the ability to configure affordable, enterprise class solutions based on the latest in-mobile technology.

It certainly is an interesting period in the development of Varlink. At a time when some may question the need for another distribution company serving a mature market, it goes to show that there is always room for those who can demonstrate innovation and the importance of developing great relationships. We look forward to reading more in due course.


Keeping it all together: Varlink's management team forges ahead with its goals (left to right: Bill Gordon, technology director; Sabine Kelly, marketing manager, Mike Pullon, MD).

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