Ehsan Hashemi, COO at specialist components distributor Golden Systems Middle East on how the company is evolving and expanding its footprint to serve the largely untapped markets in the CIS region and African continent
Ehsan Hashemi, COO at specialist components distributor Golden Systems Middle East on how the company is evolving and expanding its footprint to serve the largely untapped markets in the CIS region and African continent.
Channel: Briefly explain how business has been for Golden Systems Middle East this year?
Ehsan Hashemi: It has been a challenging year because of the political unrest issues in some parts of the Middle East. However, Golden Systems experienced strong corporate growth as well as significant growth across all our product lines because of proper planning, healthy stock rotation and, prudent inventory and cash flow management. We have also increased our push into CIS countries, North Africa and Iraq, while signing new resellers across the region.
Channel: What is Golden Systems’ main business focus areas for the rest of the year and in 2013?
EH: We continue to focus on our components business, as it is the core business areas for us. We are also providing superior quality products and excellent service and support to our channel partners and customers besides focusing on mobility products, peripherals and accessories.
Channel: How many business units does your company have at the moment?
EH: Golden Systems has three business units, which include the Components, Peripherals and Mobility business units.
Channel: The last two years have been challenging for most regional distributors. What strategies did Golden Systems implement to help it weather the storm during this period?
EH: The whole IT industry has had to deal with difficult times in the last two years and success has not been as easy as it was in the past. Since margins on products have decreased quite significantly in the last few years and continue to do so especially on commodity products. We have made concerted efforts to shift our sales volume from the entry-level (most susceptible) range to the mid- and high-level market segments. Although the margins have eroded the entry-level segment, a complete product basket that covers all ranges (entry to high end) ‘averages out’ the margins across the board.
Channel: Are they any vendor technologies or brands that are still missing in the portfolio of products that Golden Systems is offering?
EH: We have a wide range of products in our basket however we continuously try to add exclusive and superior quality products to our portfolio to meet our market’s demand which is in line with our corporate growth strategy.
Channel: What channel programmes is your company rolling out in the area of value-added distribution?
EH: We have been working closely with our channel partners from different regions to increase demand for the products they take to market through focused marketing, events such as exhibitions, seminars, road shows and training programmes. Through Golden Systems’ own Avardz Loyalty Programme, channel incentives and rebate initiatives, we offer channel partners a wide range of offerings aimed at incentivising them correctly. We have also put in place other programmes to help increase the confidence of our channel partners to sell more effectively.
Channel: What would you say will be your major highlight at this year’s GITEX Technology Week?
EH: At GITEX Technology week, we will be promoting our wide range of products to our channel partners and potential customers. We will also be showcasing our tablet PCs, launching new products and meeting with customers and partners at our meeting rooms at the Fairmont Hotel in Dubai. This GITEX, we will also be looking forward to expanding our channel.
Channel: What is the importance of participating in a technology fair such as GITEX Technology Week?
EH: GITEX has always been an ideal event for us to promote our latest and most innovative technologies, increase brand awareness of our vendor partner solutions, launch new products and sign new channel alliances. It is also a perfect platform for us to meet our customers and partners at a single venue. This year, we are looking to expand our business by signing on new vendors and channel partners at the event. We also plan to scout for the latest technologies and understand industry trends at the event. Apart from exploring new opportunities, which is in line with our ongoing growth strategy for the Middle East geograohy, we are also looking forward to strengthening our channel network further and increasing the market share of our brands across the region.
Channel: Does Golden Systems have any plans for regional expansion? If so, which markets have you identified to be key for your expansion strategy in the Middle East belt?
EH: The company is already present across the Middle East through our strong channel network. Our plan and focus going forward is to further expand across CIS countries and African markets as we believe there is so much growth potential in the two regions.
Channel: Where do you see majority of your growth coming from in the Middle East in 2012?
EH: Golden Systems expects to see major growth coming from the CIS countries and Iraq.