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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

Since the recession, we've been dealing with a lot of mixed signals regarding momentum in any direction. If anything, global growth expectations have been slightly down, and then you throw in some recent volatility with currencies. All of this contributes to a very complex multi-dimensional picture and meanwhile, we've got to find strategies and ways to have predictable and consistent performance that leads to long term results that we've committed to our shareholders.

William Chu(WC): From the Asia perspective, I view it as a journey of transformation. The market is changing quickly with new technology and this transformation provides a lot of opportunities and risks. We look at some of the existing resellers and some analysts have been predicting that half of them won't be there anymore in next five to 10 years.

We have to challenge ourselves as a distributor, how do we prepare ourselves and our people to be ready because then we can help our partners to transform. It is about participating in all this new technology, services and solutions like Cloud, data analytics and security. Typically, what we want to do is look at organic growth opportunities - looking at expanding our line card. For example, flash storage and not just looking at it as a product, but how relevant is the supplier.

We're a global distributor for IBM's SoftLayer, and by participating in that, we're enabling our partners to participate in this Cloud growth opportunity. Although this may be viewed as a product, the whole transformation enables and teaches them how to sell differently and enable them with the Avnet Cloud tools whereby we actually use that leverage from the US, bring it over to Asia.

Australia is the first country to adopt and go through all the training and now we have the opportunity to enable our partners and use the tools so they can look at all their aggregate billing and know exactly their customer, how much they are spending on SoftLayer, Amazon, and some of these providers, and at the same time they can look at how they can aggregate in terms of getting the volume, pricing or purchasing rebates and things like that.

That is one example on how we can enable our partners through this journey of transformation.

What are some of the biggest challenges that you're facing as a distributor today?
RH: It's navigating during this pace of change. I would like to do everything possible to make sure we don't allow the pace of change outside of Avnet, to exceed the pace of change inside Avnet.

Whether it's the Cloud, analytics, internet of things, they're creating great opportunities in the market, but if we don't maintain our relevance that presents a risk for our business. Staying close to our customers and suppliers to make sure we understand how they're dealing with this rapid pace of change, what types of transitions and transformations they're contemplating or implementing in their businesses. The premium on communication, the linkage, collaboration, partnership and teamwork has never been at a higher premium in my opinion.


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