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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).

Avnet names Patrick Zammit Avnet Technology Solutions Global President

American distributor Avnet has promoted Patrick Zammit to serve as global president for Avnet Technology Solutions, one of two global operating groups within Avnet. Zammit previously served as president of Avnet Electronics Marketing EMEA. Zammit will be responsible for the strategic direction, day-to-day operations and performance of the group globally. Zammit's appointment is effective immediately, and he will report directly to Avnet Chief Executive Officer Rick Hamada, succeeding Phil Gallagher. As a global IT solutions distributor, Avnet Technology Solutions transforms technology into business solutions for customers around the world. It collaborates with customers and suppliers to create and deliver services, software and hardware solutions that address the changing needs of end-user customers. The group serves customers and suppliers in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia Pacific, and Europe, Middle East and Africa. It generated €8.3 billion in annual revenue for fiscal year 2014. Zammit began his career with Arthur Andersen and joined Avnet in 1993. He held a series of positions in finance, operations and strategic planning and served as president of EBV Elektronik, an Avnet company, before being promoted to regional president of Avnet Electronics Marketing EMEA in 2006. He graduated from the Business School ESLSCA with the French equivalent of a master's degree in business administration. Zammit succeeds Phil Gallagher who remains with Avnet to help ensure a smooth leadership transition.

Avnet eyes return to European M&A scene

After taking a break to "digest" its latest acquisitions, American multispecialist Avnet could be set to get back on the M&A trail in Europe next year, with converged systems, security, and licensing renewals earmarked as key target areas. The firm has not made any buyouts in Europe for a year, since the acquisition of German embedded electronics specialist MSC. A voluntary hiatus as the distributor seemingly needed time to digest Magirus, the last major acquisition in the past seven or eight years. Now that is its ready to enter the M&A arena, Avnet may look to turn its focus towards different areas. The future deals are geared towards new competencies and higher-value market areas, such as onverged systems, security (on a pan-European basis, especially around Cisco and RSA), license renewals and services (source : Channelnomics EU).

MSC displays on AUO

Embedded computing specialist MSC Technologies has expanded its product portfolio of public information displays from AUO with a further stretched version. The stretched panel with a half Full HD resolution of 1920 x 540 pixels has a 96.5 cm diagonal and is comparable with the half of a 106.7 cm display. Until now, stretched displays were used primarily in gaming applications. In the meantime, they are being used more and more in many areas of daily life where it must be possible to frequently modify the information displayed. Examples of this are trains, trams, buses and stations providing passengers with information. The displays are also suited as direction signs or information signs, for example, for visitors of an event. The small information panels can be installed either vertically or horizontally. They are available through MSC offices in Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey.

MSC Technologies establishes new company structure

Semiconductor and embedded computing specialist MSC Technologies has concluded its new company structure. MSC Vertriebs GmbH and Gleichmann & Co. Electronics GmbH are merged to MSC Technologies GmbH (HQ: Stutensee). MSC Freiburg GmbH, Display Elektronik & Design GmbH and DSM Computer GmbH trade under MSC Technologies Systems GmbH (HQ: Freiburg). According to Manfred Schwarztrauber, president of MSC Technologies, "with this step, all companies in the MSC Gleichmann Group have now been successfully merged into the two new companies MSC Technologies GmbH and MSC Technologies Systems GmbH. As a result, we have accomplished that the different business units with varied areas of expertise are now more closely interlinked and our teams work together even more intensively. Our OEM customers benefit from this concentration of technical expertise and are able to secure a competitive advantage in their respective market segments with MSC Technologies' leading technological solutions." As part of the restructuring, MSC Technologies has restructured its web presence and puts intelligent embedded systems and display solutions at the center. A special display navigator allows a fast comparison of all available TFT, Touch, passive displays and monitors in a tabular form. In addition, the website shows mainboards, robust box PCs and high-performance 19-inch industrial systems, characterizing the complete variety of MSC Technologies' extended offering. The website is completed by wireless memory/storage, power and lighting distribution products. MSC is present in Europe in Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey.


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