Q: How’s business; better or worse than 12 months ago? And how confident are you about the future?
A: Business is clearly better than 12 months ago as that compares with the first lockdown and we are now emerging from the latest and, hopefully, final lockdown. We fared relatively well compared to the market through the crisis, mainly due to our SME and geographical presence, and we see a bright future. We have defined our post- COVID strategy and will continue to be acquisitive whilst adding organic growth and an element of diversification to the portfolio.
Q: In what areas are you experiencing strongest demand?
A: Our core MPS business is most active for a number of reasons. It’s highly competitive as customers forensically examine their cost base so they’re looking at whether they have the right partnership and solution in place. Equally, investment has been paused during the crisis so we see some pent up demand starting to be released.
Q: How have you changed/are you changing business operations to exploit new opportunities?
A: As I mentioned above, we have spent some time recently analysing and defining our future strategy as we come out of COVID and with my appointment as CEO. We want to play to our strengths which we will continue to do. However, we also have a big programme underway to create deeper customer relationships, professionalise our business, diversify whilst still being known for MPS and improving our brand. All parts of the business will be touched and whilst we are a very good business, we will become a better business.
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing channel businesses today?
A: My immediate concern is that as we are being released from the COVID crisis we are immediately hit with another headwind created by the global shortage in semiconductors. Product constraint is the hot topic I have with every vendor right now. Whilst we can all strategise and produce nice slideware the naked truth is that getting back to selling and supporting hardware is what will underpin the emergence from our recent challenges as that drives the cash required to do the other things. Our long- term strategy is unaffected by this but our short-term goals are.
Q: Could vendors and distributors do more to help you overcome them? And if so, what?
A: A simple answer really, fix the product supply issues.
Q: If you could change one aspect of your job what would it be and why? A: I only took on the CEO role eight weeks ago and I’ve enjoyed every day and I can see that the team and I are already making a difference. So, I wouldn’t change too much at this early stage but I will share an irritation. Since my announcement, I have received an avalanche of trash that clogs up my inbox, LinkedIn, Facebook and calls from random potential partners who, apparently, I cannot do without. I just want to get on with executing on our strategy, delighting our customers and making CCS the best company it can be without this deluge of distraction. Hopefully, it will die down as I continue to ignore and delete.