Child says Tech Data Mobile team is in great shape

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UK head hails distributor’s record quarter in final three months of 2015

Tech Data Mobile (TDM) posted a record quarter in the UK in the final three months of 2015, after seeing revenues rise more than 50 per cent on the same quarter a year earlier.

TDM UK head Matt Child (pictured) declined to share specific figures, but said the record quarter had been driven by utilising the size and scale of Tech Data’s entire UK business, with almost £2 billion turnover in its last registered financial results (up to January 2015).

Former Phones 4u director of trading Child joined Tech Data in July and said the company now has “more customers than ever” as he has started leveraging TD UK’s IT reseller base of more than 1,000 customers.

“Financially, Q4 was a record for Tech Data Mobile as we have done what we set out to do when I joined: get more customers, retain our existing customers, improve our services portfolio, improve our vendor portfolio and approach the market in a really considered and constructed way.

Reseller boost
“A key area of growth for us has been in the reseller channel, where we are serving over a thousand customers in the UK,” Child told Mobile News at the Tech Data stand in Barcelona. “We’ve achieved great success in there because as the IT market comes close to mobile, and vice versa, the resellers there become more open to proactive engagements around mobile phone supply.

“When a customer is happy to talk to you about that and you have the right propositions then you get a great reception, and it hasn’t taken us a lot of time to grow that channel beyond what I could have imagined. We’ve had three years’ worth of growth there in just six months.”

Child said the growth was driven primarily by “sustainable business” as Tech Data has moved away from jut focusing on retail contracts. In February 2013, Phones 4u appointed Tech Data to operate warehousing, forward and reverse logistic activities for its stores for the next three years.

The 2014 collapse of the retailer, where Child was still director of trading, brought an end to that contract, though Child played down the impact, saying it has managed to fulfil the lost business with other activities.

“In the past we’ve had far too much of a bias in retail. We’ve improved our retail business but we’re not reliant on it – we’ve seen growth across the operators, across corporate and across SMBs.

“Our Magna Park warehouse (which was being used for Phones 4u) is big, and when I first joined there was a corner which was empty, but we’ve filled it now. It was fight or flight, but in distribution you constantly have to reinvent yourself. I don’t think we were robust enough, but we are now.”

Tech division
Child claimed a key component of the Basingstoke-based distributor’s recent growth had been a restructuring that saw several new divisions created within Tech Data Mobile. After he joined, the former 20:20 man separated wearables and virtual reality into its own team within TDM, while he also appointed new business development managers for Android, Apple, and Windows.

Tech Data has created five new roles across this new tech division, three of which it has filled over the last few months. The team is being headed up by Mark Glasspool.

Jade Davies became marketing head, while Tom Schubert joined Tech Data’s second business development manager for Android.

Dan McRobert was promoted internally to a role as TDM’s internal retail division manager, while Alisha West was also appointed from an internal role as an operator (retail)
account manager.

The new appointments, Child claims, are part of his drive to make Tech Data “thought leaders” in new and developing technologies, such as virtual reality, wearables and the smart home.

Child, who joined Tech Data after a year-long stint as COO at Leeds United Football Club, perhaps inevitably compared it to running a football team.

Team tactics
“It’s been important to make sure we’ve got the players in the right positions,” he explained. “Everyone needs to have clarity about what their roles in the team are, and I think we’ve done that.

“New technology is good for us because it gives us an opportunity to have a voice. So we’ve built a team in this new embryonic area (VR and 360 cameras) and we can do a really good job on new tech because we have a long reach.

“We have a massive warm prospect base of willing and hungry companies we work with who want to develop their own business, and [we can] help them navigate through what is next. Everything is there to knit this together.”

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