Micro-P’s channel-hopping ramps up


Micro Peripherals (Micro-P) is building its cross-channel proposition with the expansion of its new mobile and fixed line divisions, running alongside its traditional IT distribution engine.

The appointment of Rocket Science co-founder John Doughty, a specialist in building new business in the distribution sector, is its most high-profile appointment to its developing mobile business, the core of which has to date centred on its Portix accessories arm, bought from Expansys for £1.15 million in 2008.

Micro-P has since expanded its mobile hardware distribution to include direct contracts for supply of handsets from PC maker Acer, as well as third-party issue of devices by Nokia, Samsung and Research in Motion.

It has brought in accessories brands Jabra, Jawbone, Plantronics, SanDisk and Altec Lansing, and will supply UK Apple stores direct with kit from certain of these.

It has also secured airtime distribution with O2, T-Mobile, 3 and Vodafone (via Yes Telecom), in the most part for mobile broadband. The O2 deal is for mobile broadband exclusively.

As well, Micro-P is supplying the mobile dealer market with its stock-in-trade IT kit, and also running headline laptop fulfilment for 3’s and Phones 4U’s retail operations.

Doughty has sales management experience at Avenir Telecom, Computer 2000, Brightstar Europe and 20:20 Mobile’s former parent The Caudwell Group.

He joins Micro-P with former 20:20 Mobile key account manager Jane Griffiths, who will head up its northern sales division. The pair are part of a growing band of Caudwell veterans at Micro-P.

Managing director Gerry O’Keeffe (pictured) was finance and operations director at its old accessories unit Dextra for four years. He has already brought in Paddy Brennan and Mark Rushton from Dextra to lead its accessories and broadband teams.

O’Keeffe said: “These appointments reflect our growth and investment in this key area. John’s knowledge of the market makes him ideal to spearhead our mobile proposition. Jane’s recruitment is right to expand our sales and replicate the success we’ve had in our traditional business through teams in both northern and southern offices.”

He added: “Jane spent over eight years with 20:20 and has relationships with key retailers, dealers and resellers. I am delighted she has joined. Together with Paddy and Mark, she was part of a very successful dealer sales desk [at Dextra].

“She is one of the finest account managers in the country, and it is very pleasing to give them all the chance to work together again and to deliver the success they enjoyed in the past.”

Micro-P wants to grow the value of its mobile unit from five per cent of total company revenues (tracking at £440 million for 2009/10) to closer 20 per cent. In tandem, it is looking to establish a £20 million fixed line division from scratch, to set itself as the convergence kit distributor of choice in the UK reseller market.

It struck a PBX (private branch exchange) distribution deal with NEC late last year, and has followed with a deal for Samsung PBX units, including its Officeserv 7000 range.

In fixed line hardware supply, Micro-P will increasingly challenge Nimans, which bought major rival Rocom in April last year to create a £95 million distribution business. Micro-P, itself, bid for Rocom, but refused to match the £12.45 million Nimans forked out.

But Micro-P is entering both mobile and fixed line from a unified communications perspective. They will increasingly combine with its established IT engine.

It is Samsung’s largest UK IT distributor, selling consumer electronics, PCs, optical hardware and monitors into UK channels. It has been quick to move for former Nimans managers John Bird and Kelly Maynard following the new PBX contract.

Bird and Maynard join as Samsung technical support manager and Samsung business manager, respectively, and they are old familiars to Samsung.

“Both Kelly and John are experienced across the Samsung portfolio and telecoms industry. John is the only Samsung accredited trainer outside of Samsung’s employ in the UK, and both are highly respected and successful within the industry. They are the cornerstones of our Samsung team. We are pleased to welcome them on board,” said O’Keeffe.

The pair join Alex Lister and Dave Allan, formerly with Rocom and Nimans respectively, in Micro-P’s fixed line unit.

Samsung networks division general manager Paul Templeton said: “Our OfficeServ 7000 converged communications servers have been designed to deliver advanced voice, data and wireless communications in a single, secure IP platform. The market is showing high growth in VoIP and converged comms so the timing of our deal with Micro-P couldn’t be better.”

Micro-P is to open a Samsung technical centre to give resellers support and product knowledge. Bird and Maynard are tasked with developing the centre.

O’Keeffe said: “This deal is crucial for us to strengthen our reseller offering and help deliver our objectives. Providing resellers with new opportunities through converging technologies is crucial in achieving margin growth for both them, us and vendors such as Samsung.
“Our business has a reputation for first-class customer service and support and we aim to extend this to our comms offering.”