"The distribution market is evolving," says Alex Phillips

Northamber responds to former director’s criticism of tech distribution

Distributor Northamber has responded to comments made last week by one of its former directors, Henry Matthews, who slammed tech distribution.

Matthews, who has come out of retirement to work at Cloud Telephones, previously worked at Northamber for some 30 years.

He told PCR: "Distributors are in a different world – they’ve got their head up their arse looking after PCs. Basically, you look at a distributor, they’re over there selling print and software or whatever. They don’t have a clue about what we’re selling over here. If you imagine photocopiers, distribution has been trying to sell photocopiers for years, and they just don’t have a clue, because it’s a leasing product.

"A big ship takes several miles to turn," Matthews added, insinuating disties aren’t nimble enough for today’s market.

Northamber’s director of strategy Alex Phillips (pictured) had this to say on Matthews’ comments: "I think if you look at where we’ve gone with our narrow-line approach, we agree with the sentiment [that broadline distribution may not be as nimble]. I wouldn’t phrase it quite that way, but we agree that with the more value-add categories, you need people in place to focus on them. And that’s where we’ve seen so much recent success – having the right people focusing on technologies where you can add value.

He told PCR: "But I think the distribution market is evolving. If you look at a lot of the distributors, there’s a move towards value-add, which means that with the right investment behind it, all technologies are accessible to them. 

"Broadliners do have the breadth of resellers, so it’s about finding the right balance. I think we’re uniquely placed as we’re offering a breadth of reseller, but are able to have the right size so we can focus on investing and growing."

When asked if Northamber would ever offer a service such as hosted VoIP, like Cloud Telephones, Phillips replied: "We’ll look at any opportunity so long as it can help our resellers and there’s margin."

Richard Marsden, director at distributor VIP Computers, wasn’t quite as tactful with his reaction to Matthews’ comments, describing the interview as "comical" on Twitter.

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