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60 seconds with…James Reed,Managing Director – Endpoint Solutions, Tech Data

What’s currently having the greatest impact on your business?
Relentless demand for smaller print devices for home use means that we are selling out of new stock almost before it arrives. We are doing our very best to work with our suppliers to optimise availability and with customers to plan ahead and both manage and meet customer expectations.

On the back of this we are also seeing huge growth in demand for consumables and servicing that ongoing demand amongst end-user customers will be a good ongoing opportunity for resellers.

Where do you see the next big opportunity?
There will certainly be an opportunity in managing and maintaining the huge number of work devices now being installed in homes and supplying consumables for those users. If you look at office-based print, management will be a big opportunity here too.

I also see more centralised printing for high quality output and there are two areas of potential here – the first is to offer the hardware and ongoing maintenance cover and management of devices, the second to make acquisition easier through schemes such as our Tech-as-a-Service initiative, through which solutions providers can offer not only hardware but also software and their own services on a subscription basis. With so many IT budgets having to be reviewed, that’s a fast-growing area for us right now.

What would make your day job easier?
At present, simply being able to obtain more products would be very useful. But, as mentioned already, we are working our way through that and the situation is alleviating gradually.

I think also being able to return in a meaningful way to the workplace, not only to bring teams back together again, so that they can spark off each other and really innovate as a team, but also for their mental health. Working at home suits a lot of people but many would also welcome being back in the workplace with their colleagues. But, of course, the health and safely of everyone comes first. That’s why we’ve made our working environments very safe indeed. The number of people who can come in is strictly limited and they need to book a desk in advance.

What’s the best bit of business advice you’ve been given?
Never give up, even when you think it is a hopeless case, is perhaps the best advice I’ve had. Something I have learned on top of that is that things can always change and that there is always a way to address an issue or solve a problem. Whatever the challenge, there will be a solution and an opportunity behind it.

If you had had a crystal ball, would you have done anything differently?
Not really, maybe worried a little less but then again, it’s important to guard against any kind of complacency. I think though, if you work hard, don’t let people down and you are honest with everyone (including yourself), you won’t go far wrong.

Describe your most embarrassing moment.
The one I am going to admit to is getting the name of an important supplier partner completely wrong on a recent Zoom call and being allowed to continue for several minutes before someone had the courage to alert me to my gaffe. In the end, it was quite funny really; while I’d always want to be professional in my business dealings, I think it’s also important not to take yourself too seriously.

What was your first job?
Believe it or not, it was as a business development exec at a distribution business called Computer 2000, which later became Tech Data UK.

What would be your dream job?
England Rugby Coach.

Fine dining and good wine, or curry and a pint?
Fine food and good wine will win every time for me.

How do you like to spend your spare time?
See the previous two questions – the first one though, entirely from the comfort of my own couch.

Money’s not an issue, what’s your perfect car… and where would you like to drive it?
A vintage Jaguar E Type Roadster and the Amalfi Coast.Roadster and the Amalfi Coast.

Favourite holiday destination?
The Caribbean.