MEC, the leading IT value-added distributor specialised in notebook computers, printers and peripherals, is dreaming the dream all over again, with the acquisition of some market-leading, pioneering brands to give its distribution offering an edge.MEC provides a complete distribution and support infrastructure to resellers throughout New Zealand, delivering products and services beyond the capabilities of the traditional IT distributor.Until recently, MEC was the exclusive distributor of LG IT products. LG consumer electronics are now handled by LG with the exception of its IT products, for which distribution continues to be channel-based. “LG’s 2008 model is dual distribution, with MEC doing mass-merchant retail, B2B business, and general multi-tier SME distribution,” says MEC’s recently promoted Sales and Marketing Manager Luke Ogier, well known for his previous product management roles at Kodak, Renaissance and TechPacific. Ogier was until recently MEC’s Toughbook Business Manager.MEC has also recently appointed a new general manager, David Hill, who is aiming to transform MEC’s image through the addition of some new brands, including Conceptronic and Abbrazzio. Toshiba laptops are another great acquisition in the MEC product suite.Hill has extensive logistics and general management experience, says Ogier. “David has a very strong management background, and MEC took him on to transition the company — including our existing, exclusive brands — while adding a broader offering to the channel.”
Brand –new brandsAbbrazzio is a premium, high-fashion laptop bag range, and doesn’t have a direct competitor in the New Zealand market. “There are a lot of bag manufacturers,” says Ogier, “but until now, laptop bags have all been functionality over form and style.”Abbrazzio bags are iPod-compatible, enabling wiring to pass through the straps. Some of the range is waterproof, featuring connector straps that allow the bags to be carried rucksack-style while walking or riding a bike. “Abbrazzio products are based on urban-hip and mobility,” says Hill.There are obvious synergies between the Abbrazzio range, Conceptronic and the Panasonic Toughbooks brands, supported by MEC’s existing strengths in the area of mobile computing products. “MEC has a focus on mobility with the Toughbook laptops and Toshiba,” Ogier agrees. “We don’t do any desktop PCs because 60% of the PCs purchased today are laptops.”The Conceptronic brand broadens MEC’s already extensive mobility offering; taking into account wireless access points, network access storage, as well as multimedia players and multimedia streaming. “It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that almost every household nowadays has one desktop and three laptops, with centralised media storage, wireless access and multimedia players for home entertainment,” says Ogier. “So the synergies for MEC’s customers through our representation of the Conceptronic brand are obvious.”
It all revolvesaround the customerThe company has recently established a new way of account managing its channel partners, which involves making the customer central to the MEC experience. “It goes back to the fundamental belief that sales are about relationships,” says David Hill. “Rather than having a product-focused account manager, we offer our customers relationship-focused account managers who spend their time getting to know the customers’ needs and then finding the right products to suit their businesses.”MEC has built its reputation as a respected and reliable mid-sized distributor on its customer relationships. “We don’t distribute competing products,” says Hill. “We aim to have only one vendor per product line in our product suite, so our account managers and our sales team can focus on that. And we’re going to increase our offering into the channel.”The company is not aiming to evolve into a broad-based distributor like some in the market. Instead, it is re-envisioning the way it services the channel by closely watching market trends and remaining alert to customer needs.Trade with MEC. You’ll enjoy the experience.