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Westcon opens up about Romanian outsourcing move

Distributor Westcon has revealed a business process outsourcing (BPO) firm with operations in Romania will take charge of some of its EMEA finance and operations functions. Parent company Datatec announced yesterday that 300 of Westcon's 1,900 EMEA staff would be affected by a "BPO transformation" of its EMEA operations.

Westcon senior vice president David Grant revealed a phased migration of the functions in question will occur between now and mid-2017 and insisted service levels for resellers would not be affected. Although Grant was not in a position to divulge Westcon's BPO partner, he described it as a global outfit "in the top-right of the Gartner Magic Quadrant". "We separated our activities into those we see as transactional and those that add value to the customers and vendors," he said. "Anything that is very transactional we have decided to outsource to another organisation as it gives us scale and efficiency."

The outsourcing project will run alongside Westcon's impending European implementation of a global SAP project, Grant said, adding that affected employees may be offered other roles in the organisation. "It is not a case of everything changing on day one," he said. "Where roles are affected we will give people significant advance notice, as it's the responsible thing to do. We are growing, and while some transactional roles will be eliminated from the business, some new opportunities will be created so we will take as much time as we can to retrain and redeploy staff where it is appropriate to us."

Westcon, which operates through the Comstor and Westcon brands, has order-processing staff in 42 countries in EMEA, Grant said, adding that any staff whose roles are displaced will be offered the choice of staying on to help with the migration. Employee and other fees associated with the migration will cost parent Datatec about €11.5m in its current financial year.

Rival distributor Ingram Micro centralised more EMEA back-office functions to Sofia in Bulgaria last year.

Grant said it made more sense for Cisco, Avaya, Polycom, Juniper and Check Point partner Westcon to partner with a BPO outfit with knowledge of the region. "We have chosen an organisation where it is their core business to provide business processes and support," he said. "We are not experts in sourcing a facility or finding local language specialists and training them on what we do."

Romania, which is where the BPO firm in question will carry out Westcon's transactional work, was ranked fourth in an index of the top global BPO locations this year carried out by Cushman & Wakefield, behind Vietnam, the Philippines and Bulgaria. Grant emphasised that Westcon's "core value-add" will be retained in-house and claimed that neither customer service levels nor its ability to execute would be affected by the move. "Our top 10 vendor partners have all offered to make sure there is good knowledge transfer and are helping to train our BPO staff," he said. "If you think about it, most of our major vendors have some part of their organisation that is outsourced so are completely familiar with what support they can give us."

Graeme Watt, EMEA president at rival distributor Avnet Technology Solutions, confirmed his company has also made some steps towards centralising transactional functions, "but nothing like on the scale we are seeing with Westcon". "It is fair to say that everybody is looking to see how much of that non-technical, more run-rate, transactional operations they can centralise," he said. "We have been talking about it for a while and we will centralise functions and operations where we think it makes sense and keep things local where we think it makes sense." (source: Channelweb United Kingdom).

Silica signs distribution agreement with Nordic Semiconductor

Semiconductor specialist Silica has signed a distribution agreement with the ultra low power (ULP) short-range wireless communication specialist Nordic Semiconductor. The agreement authorises Silica to sell and support the full range of ULP wireless solutions available from Nordic across Europe. Nordic Semiconductor products are now available to buy from Silica offices in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

SILICA and Avnet Memec to be combined to one company

Semiconductor specialist Avnet Electronics Marketing EMEA has decided to enhance the selling strength of its two semiconductor distribution organizations SILICA and Avnet Memec by combining the sales forces of both distributors into one. As both distributors belong to the same legal entity and already collaborate at the back end (IT, Finance, Operations, Asset), it was a logical conclusion to extend the close sales collaboration of SILICA and Avnet Memec in some countries (Austria, Switzerland and Iberia) to all of EMEA. The demand creation activities, technical marketing and application support will remain separate; the Memec name will be retained to help drive specific marketing and demand creation (design-win) efforts. According to Miguel Fernandez, president of Avnet EM EMEA, "This collaboration has evolved over a long period and proven to be very effective both at the sales side in some smaller countries and the operational side of the business across Europe. Making SILICA and Avnet Memec one company across Europe with two distinctive demand creation forces will help us drive scale and focus for many exclusive manufacturer relationships." The new, combined organization will be led by Mario Orlandi, the president of SILICA, who said: "This is an opportunity to extend our offerings and our customer base at the same time. As we operate in a competitive market environment where speed of execution and expertise are king, we leverage the growth scalability of a bigger sales force while keeping the technical focus of specialist distribution." Avnet Memec (1) and SILICA (2) are present in Austria (1 and 2), Belgium (1 and 2), Czech Republic (2), Denmark (1 and 2), Finland (1 and 2), France (1 and 2), Germany (1 and 2), Greece (1), Hungary (2), Italy (1 and 2), the Netherlands (1 and 2), Norway (a href=" Norge/">2), Poland (1 and 2), Portugal (1 and 2), Russia (1 and 2), Slovenia (2), Spain (1 and 2), Sweden (1 and 2), Switzerland (1 and 2), Turkey (1 and 2) and the United Kingdom (1 and 2).

Mario Orlandi appointed President of SILICA

Semiconductor specialist SILICA has appointed Mario Orlandi as new President. Orlandi most recently served on the SILICA executive team as vice president sales for Europe where he has been instrumental in reorganising the sales organisation and further developing SILICA's sales and demand creation strategy. Mario Orlandi has nearly three decades of experience in the technology industry and brings a broad spectrum of sales management and market knowledge to the president's role at SILICA. In his previous role Mario Orlandi was responsible for the strategic direction and leadership of SILICA's 400 strong sales and application engineer team (through its teams in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom), including the execution of demand creation and design support strategies across Europe. Mario joined SILICA in 2004 from Motorola (now Freescale), where he held the position of European distribution sales director. At Motorola, he started as a field sales engineer and progressed through the ranks to the position of sales director. He began his career with SGS Thomson (now STMicroelectronics) as a quality engineer. Over the past 14 years, SILICA has grown to become a premier distributor in Europe, achieving record breaking revenues, continuously expanding its market share and design support capabilities.

Avnet names Miguel Fernandez President of Avnet Electronics Marketing EMEA

American multispecialist Avnet has appointed Miguel Fernandez president of Avnet Electronics Marketing (EM) for the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa). He will be responsible for the entire components and embedded activities of the EM group in the region and report directly to Gerry Fay, president of Avnet EM Global. Fernandez, who has served for the last 12 years as president of Silica, an Avnet company, takes on this role from Patrick Zammit who was recently promoted to global president for Avnet Technology Solutions. Avnet Electronics Marketing EMEA is a highly successful business region of Avnet's components operating group with an annual turnover of €3.75bn for fiscal year 2014, ended June 28, 2014. The region covers the entire European, Middle East and African markets with a model of separately operating business units which specialize in certain areas of the value added components (semiconductors, IP&E) and the embedded market. Fernandez started his professional career in Spain in the early 80s by founding his own distribution company with the Sonepar Electronics Group (SEI) and serving as executive vice president of that organization. When Avnet acquired SEI in 1999, Fernandez assumed the position of CIO and chief of staff. In 2002, after the creation of Silica, he took responsibility for the new semiconductor distributor. In the last 12 years, together with his team, he managed to establish Silica among the top distributors in Europe, with revenues in excess of €1bn in fiscal year 2014, ended June 28, 2014.


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