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Dealers told: 'Don’t let suppliers bully you'

Words of advice for channel at first meeting of the year for paid-up DCG members

Dealers told: 'Don’t let suppliers bully you'
IT dealers in Dubai have been told that the decisions they take need to be made with profitability in mind.

Members of the Dubai Computer Group (DCG) came together for the first time this year at a special ‘meet and greet' event last night - and were given tips on how to navigate some of the current market challenges they face.

The event attracted more than 120 paid-up members of the group, who heard from a number of channel speakers, including distribution expert and former Aptec COO Guy Whitcroft.

He outlined the importance of profitability in the channel today and said dealers could take heart from signs that IT companies across the region were now putting the bottom line first.

"The good news is that throughout EMEA the channel is increasingly willing to walk away from unprofitable business," he told the audience. "We are seeing people having a look at business and saying, ‘this isn't going to make money, I'm not going to do this deal', whereas a few years ago people would do the deal at any cost. People are watching the bottom line a lot more carefully."

Whitcroft said it was vital for dealers to pay greater attention to detail when it came to operational aspects of the business, such as cash flow and receivables management. Understanding product life-cycles and knowing when to buy into technology were also important, he noted.

Dealers were also urged to resist unreasonable pressure from vendors. "Some of the very big [suppliers] have had problems with diminishing sales and they will try to bully you. Don't allow it to happen," said Whitcroft. "Within the DCG, put a representative body together and approach suppliers as a group. You will find you will get a lot more traction that way. Trying to do it individually gets difficult."

Meanwhile, Shahood Khan, sales and marketing director at Empa - one of several distributors in attendance - suggested greater collaboration was needed to give the channel more weight with credit insurers and advised dealers to keep on top of their receivables by establishing the payment habits of their customers so that notoriously slow payers could be more proactively dealt with.

"We need to manage our receivables and categorise our customers in terms of collection because collecting is very important for our business," he said.

The ‘meet and greet' event, which was sponsored by Netgear - who had both regional boss Ahmed Zeidan and sales and marketing head Sayed Jawad in attendance - saw the DCG unveil its new website and speak about some of the work it has done in the past year.

Board members said the group had alerted members to a theft from hardware distributor Fire Bird's warehouse which resulted in the stolen goods being intercepted, while on another occasion it had helped to resolve a dispute between a collapsed reseller and its creditors. 77 dealers had now received between 25% and 100% of the payments they were owed, according to the DCG.  

Shailendra Rughwani, president of the DCG, said: "We have had questions being raised about the role of DCG and the work being done by members. I can assure you the board members have been working in the background and in most cases trying to solve issues which without DCG in the picture would have ended in a major conflict."

He also added that the DCG's financial records were open for all members to scrutinise and said the group was required to submit audited accounts to the Dubai Chamber on an annual basis to maintain its permit.

The event wasn't all about talking business, however. Dealers were also treated to some entertainment from local illusionist Sumeet Bhandari. He's a face that is well-known to many in the market having once worked at Ashley and Ontime Distribution before swapping the channel for a career in magic!

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