Triple Threat: Exertis’ Mike Buley on the distributor’s big win at the PCR Awards 2019

Those that attended this year’s PCR Awards will have noticed one company in particular that may have somewhat stolen the show. Not only did our panel of 30+ industry experts find their success over the past 12 months so impressive that they ended up winning awards in two separate categories on the evening – Distribution and Dealer Services – but the PCR team couldn’t deny the fantastic 12 months Exertis has had in the channel, and as such, the distributor also walked away with the most coveted award of the night – PCR’s Company of the Year 2019.

To find out more about how Exertis feels after becoming the triple threat of the PCR Awards, Laura Barnes spoke with the company’s UK consumer managing director Mike Buley, who outlines how hard Exertis has worked to get recognition for its partner services, what we can expect from this year’s Plug In To Exertis conference and exhibition, and how the distributor is planning to continue its successes throughout the rest of 2019.

One of your wins on the night was for Dealer Services Provider, which could be seen as a surprise for a distributor. How has Exertis made such an impact in the dealer services side of things over the past year?

We have a continued strong presence in retail which is brought by years of experience in providing the right products, solutions and value-add services for varying types of customer. Consumers are now more empowered than ever, and technology has the means to meet and exceed their expectations.

Exertis are well placed with our range of retail services to help our partners in areas such as drop ship, category management and marketing, to name a few. We have continued to expand our service offering both organically and through acquisitions, meaning we have the flexibility to offer bespoke solutions for all of our partners. As you mentioned, this might be a surprise to some that the award has gone to a distributor but to us this is what we do day in day out, so we are delighted to see our hard work recognised.

You also won the Hardware Distributor award. What have been some particular highlights for Exertis in the hardware sector?

The pinnacle has to be our improved market share in what is unarguably a very tough market and economy. Listening to our customers and being very close to our vendors means that we respond quickly to market trends and adapt our services and portfolio accordingly.

An example of this was announcing our intention to distribute a wide range of core electrical products with both established and emerging vendors – starting with Hoover – one of the most iconic brands in the domestic electricals market.

To support our next phase of growth we made five key management appointments within our retail business unit to focus on engagement and specification. Alex Croft, commercial director and Jon Sutherland, sales director are based in Harlow. Both take on an expanded role responsible for the following categories: gaming, leisure, peripherals, Microsoft, software, core electricals and accessories.

Glen McClelland, our sales and commercial director based in Harlow, is responsible for premium audio and own branded products.

Liam La Cumbre, our commercial director based in Basingstoke, is responsible for consumer, commodity networks and smart tech, and supporting computing, TFT, print, components, and mobile.

Mike Harris, out sales director based in Basingstoke, is responsible for computing, commodity networks, components, mobile, consumer, visual, smart tech, print, accessories, UC devices, premium and own brands.

You also came away with the biggest award of the night, Company of the Year. What does that mean to Exertis?

It was fantastic to hear our name read out as winners amongst other great companies who were considered in the same categories. We were thrilled to have won not one, but three awards, particularly Company of the Year. Exertis has a team of such talented individuals and this is a really exciting time for the business. We have established a great platform for growth with the opportunity to build on our success by enabling our customers to innovate in what remains a transformative time for retail.

How important are industry awards to the company?

The industry awards provide a great opportunity to recognise the hard work and dedication our whole team put into making Exertis the leading distributor in the UK. We would like to congratulate all the winners and nominees. After a tough year it is great to see everyone’s hard work recognised and celebrated.

Tell us about the Plug In To Exertis event. How has it grown and what new things can we expect this year?

Plug In to Exertis has continued to grow bigger and better year-on-year, not only increasing the number of attendees that will join us on the day but also the amount of brands we will have exhibiting this year. The support from our vendors has been phenomenal, so much so that we have had to expand our exhibition area. The exhibition has become so big that this year we will need to spill into the garages at Silverstone to fit in all the brands that are supporting this year’s event.

In terms of new additions this year – firstly, more brands – we hope to have 120+ there, we are introducing some dedicated zones this year for premium audio and gaming as well as numerous services stands highlighting everything from our enterprise services through to retail services, hopefully showing partners how we can go further than ever before in enabling them to grow their business. We will also see the return of the popular fully automated smart home environment.

What else does Exertis have planned for the rest of 2019?

We will continue to develop our unrivalled service proposition with a continued momentum to grow and enable our partners to do the same.

Consistently offering the right products, solutions and services to meet each individual partner’s needs has allowed us to build strong relationships and trust with all of our partners and we want to develop and continue this throughout the rest of 2019 and further. Utilising different areas of our business, for example our global supply chain team, along with broadening the breadth of our product portfolio into different areas, will allow us to provide more support for partners.

This is just the start of the journey for us and we are excited to see what the future holds.

Entries for PCR 30 Under 30 are now open. Nominate yourself or a colleague now!

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