Citing a decline in the DRAM market, GB Micro Electronics Inc. closed its Mississauga, Ont., office last week.

The distributor’s head office in Montreal will now look after its Ontario business, said president Solange Dugas Baizer. The nine sales people who worked in Mississauga were offered positions in Montreal, but they all turned them down, she said. “We’re helping them out, I think we’ve found jobs for three of them already. Toronto is the city to be in if you’re looking for a job. A lot of them will be going to work for some of our customers.”

A new five-person Ontario sales team has been formed from existing staff in the Montreal office. The team will be led by former Tech Data Canada Inc. VAR team leader Masis Merzikian and sales manager David Brown has been relieved of administrative duties to visit account customers in Ontario full time. “David has been with us for 10 years; he knows all the customers very well,” said Baizer. Now he’ll be only on the road visiting all the accounts. We have the Ontario team backing him up out of Montreal.”

Customers should see no appreciable difference in service levels, she added, since the Mississauga location was a small satellite sales office. “All my sales people in Toronto were an inside sales force,” said Baizer. “Whether they’re sitting inside in Toronto or inside in Montreal, as long as they speak perfect English, and with (Brown) on the road . . . in a way for us it’s more efficient, and it’s a business model that will work a lot better for the times we’re going through right now.”

GB Micro counts among its clients Compugen and Business Depot.

Research firm Dataquest predicts the DRAM market will suffer its worst year ever – a 55.5 per cent reduction from $31.5 billion in 2000 to $14 billion. The soft memory market, plus a downturn in hi-tech markets across the board figured heavily in the decision to close the office, said Baizer.

There are no plans on the horizon for more cuts, said Baizer, but she doesn’t discount the possibility that staff levels may fluctuate according to market conditions. “We’re evaluating on a daily basis. If we need more, we’ll get more; if we need less, we’ll have less.”

GB Micro also has an office in Vancouver, but that will remain unaffected by cost cuts, she added.

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