With our PCR Boot Camp 2016 conference and expo for IT dealers just three weeks away, we talk to Target Components MD Paul Cubbage, who will featuring in the morning conference.
Cubbage will be sitting on the 'Distie Question Time' panel, along with Westcoast's Alex Tatham, Widget's Mark Needham and VIP Computers' Rich Marsden, to answer your questions and those from other resellers, resellers and customers on the day.
"The market’s been unpredictable for the last year or so," Cubbage told PCR. "The end of XP support sucked a lot of refresh forwards into 2014, and there’s been plenty of economic uncertainty around Europe, oil prices, exchange rates and so on.
"Our numbers have held up well, but we’re hearing plenty feedback from customers, vendors and other distributors that demand is pretty flat at the moment.
"Against that background, resellers will undoubtedly want to know what the future holds and what we can do to support them."
PCR is publishing its independent retail special next week. As Target focuses heavily on the indie sector, what does Cubbage think about their role in the IT industry today and how important are they in the UK tech channel?
"Indies still make up over half of our business, so it’s a sector we’re heavily vested in," he said. "And they still provide services that simply aren’t available anywhere else.
"Our Shoptalk surveys indicate just how important they are. The consumer surveys show shoppers prefer to buy from indies because of things like their expertise, customer care, trustworthiness and support. The Retail Price Comparison shows indies are better priced than multiples and offer as wide or wider range of solutions.
"And our Employment Survey shows indies employ almost five times more staff than multiples (and 13 times more than major internet retailers) for an equivalent level of turnover.
"The value is clear to see. In an economy so heavily reliant on small businesses, collectively we should be doing far more to support indies."
Cubbage founded Target in 1998, and the past few years have been successful for the distributor.
"We’ve completed our seventh consecutive year of record turnover, and our eighth consecutive year of sales growth," he added.
"Our primary focus this year – following several years of growth – has been consolidating and investing to ensure future growth. That means focusing on some of the less ‘sexy’ stuff – strengthening the management team, investing in systems, and improving processes – but it’s essential if we want to keep improving the service we offer our customers.
"The challenge was to do this without taking our eye off the ball. We’ve improved the product range, strengthened vendor relationships in key areas, enjoyed outstanding customer satisfaction scores, and enhanced the business advice and support we offer through Shoptalk. We’ve grown our traditional customer base, and we’ve also grown breadth, with particular success with system integrators and etailers.
"To also hit record sales in a year primarily focused on investment in future growth is extremely pleasing and testament to the skills and dedication of the whole team here at Target."
Don't miss Paul Cubbage's panel discussion at the 2016 PCR Boot Camp IT conference and expo on May 18th.
Sign up to attend now atwww.pcrbootcamp.com - it's FREE for PC retailers and resellers