Exclusive: Westcoast aiming to be the UK largest B2B hardware distributor by 2020

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MD Alex Tatham believes its selective focus on vendor partners and its smaller size will help it succeed

Westcoast claims it can become the largest B2B hardware distributor in the UK by 2020 after achieving a targeted £4 billion turnover.

The plan was revealed to Mobile News by the company’s managing director Alex Tatham (pictured) as he discussed Westcoast’s ambitions. More than £1.9 billion turnover was achieved by the whole group in 2016, up from £1.6 billion at the end of 2015. It aims to boost revenue to more than £2.4 billion by January 2018.

Westcoast was established in 1984 as an IT distributor before setting up its mobile distribution arm nearly two years ago. Tatham revealed the firm took in mobile revenues of £100 million throughout 2016, with an aim to double this by the end of the year. It had more than a million hardware shipments.

The business currently operates directly with six main manufacturers: Apple, Samsung, Hitachi, HP, Lenovo and Toshiba. In comparison, rivals Exertis, Tech Data and Ingram work with a combined total of over 400. However, Tatham claimed Westcoast’s selective focus on vendor partners and its smaller size will help it succeed.

Growth ambitions

“We are acquisitive, but not as much as our rivals. Giants like Ingram might own all these other businesses, but it slows them down.

“They have a lot of different teams to deal with as a result. We’re a large business, but able to offer a much more personal touch and that will help us continue to be successful.

“We are a volume distribution business, but we are not a broad line business in the sense of selling from hundreds of vendors like our competitors. Our people know what they’re talking about because we train them very hard on key products. If you have 400 vendors, there’s a lot of information to process.

“Mobile has been one of our biggest growth areas [and it] is coming from just about everywhere. Our numbers look very achievable.

“There won’t be such a thing as a mobile distributor in five years. Everything is converging and I believe we’ll be the number one distributor [overall].”

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