The IBM PC Company said today that it is seeking multi-country distributors to assemble and sell its products in Europe.
But that will not preclude successful distributors in specific countries from continuing to be IBM business partners, the company stressed.
Speaking at the introduction of an expanded European reseller scheme, Roland Hagan, director of marketing for IBM's Emea region, said: ?Both local and multi-country channels will continue. At the same time, we have to recognise that people like Ingram are important as well. We?ll see scale becoming increasingly important in Europe.?
He said that the PC Co, now headed in Europe by Douglas LeGrande - who supercedes David Winn as general manager of the Emea region - had taken 150 of its channel partners to Lisbon, Portugal to spell out the future of its Advanced Fulfilment Initiative (AFI), which aims to build products and fulfil orders to customer demand.
Hagan forecast that consolidation in the channel will continue, with larger companies taking over smaller ones.
He agreed that Northamber was IBM?s most successful distributor in the UK and stressed that it had a continued role as a channel player.
David Phillips, chief executive at Northamber, said that his company had a fully collaborative model with IBM and was positive about AFI. ?We have no more warehousing today than we had in 1992-1993 but our revenues have gone up three or four times and the price of PCs has gone down, meaning we have a seven times throughput,? he said.
AFI appealed to Northamber because it and IBM were now creating products against requirements. ?It makes it possible for resellers to beat the direct PC vendors,? he said.
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