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Q and A: Avnet's Rick Hamada, William Chu and Darren Adams

Julia Talevski | March 18, 2015
Avnet's Rick Hamada and William Chu were in town to meet with key suppliers and partners and spoke about the changing landscape of the distribution market and how they're staying ahead

Some of the options are changing and some of the choices are changing, but the fundamental value of distribution is focused on what elements of the value chain can we perform at scale versus what elements of the value chain that are being addressed customer-by-customer, by most likely the reseller directly. The things that we can do at scale we can do very efficiently and help the VAR with that efficiency.

Darren Adams (DA): It's important to keep in mind that this company has been around for 90 years and it has changed a few times over that period of time. This is just another evolution of that reality. It's probably faster, we have to be a bit more innovative than what we've been in the past, but change is the only constant.

Specifically in Australia, through acquisition and organic growth, we've now got a very broad portfolio of skills, not only in the suppliers that we have, but also in the services and solutions that we offer around the suppliers and into the Cloud.

The US has invested a lot of money into frameworks, documents, templates and marketing plans around selling storage or virtualisation solutions, but also selling those solutions into specific verticals such as health practices and finance. That's one leverage point that we've used. Another is in terms of intellectual property in the Cloud area where you can aggregate through one portal - provisioning and billing, and do it in a white-labelled fashion.

This market is moving so fast that you've got to be innovative and the culture of your company will help you get there. If you don't have that cultural element as the foundation of your company, then you're always going to struggle because people make the business.

What will be some your points of focus for Avnet on a local scale?
DA: Our number one priority is our people. The last few years have been about readying our balance sheet and getting a sound business from a process point of view, and beginning the journey from a leadership point of view in the market. Going forward, we're going to invest a lot more in our people to give them the skills to help our partners.

What's the future direction for Avnet?
RH:When I talk to the team about the environment that we're facing today, I talk about a new 'norm.' On global, economic and macro level there are mixed signals on expectations for growth, whether it's GDP growth on a regional or global basis and there are some other indicators that are also important for us - the trends and projections for IT spending, areas such manufacturer indices, purchasing manager index effecting the total Avnet portfolio.


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