Resellers hoping to expand into the point-of-sale market will get their chances enhanced when Ingram Micro Canada opens a new division next month catering to the sector.

“”We are going to roll out products in two or three weeks,”” Greg Tobin, the distributor’s senior director of VAR sales told

a conference of its top resellers in Toronto last week.

The company is targeting 400 solution providers across Canada.

The move has been expected since late July, when Ingram bought San Diego-based Nimax Inc., a distributor of automatic identification and data capture/point-of-sale (AIDC/POS) barcode and wireless hardware and software. It also distributes enterprise mobility products.

The target market will be VARs going after medium and small businesses who are looking for everything from front-of-store POS systems to back-end inventory systems, according to David Walsh, Ingram Micro Canada’s vice-president of marketing.

A business development manager for the new Canadian division – which will keep the Nimax name – has already been hired and support staff are being added.

Walsh said the solutions of the unit could be seen as “”a concentric extension of a customer’s ERP or infrastructure system.””

All of Nimax’s vendors have to be re-signed under the new ownership.

Details of products and solution offerings will be announced when the division launches, he said. “”The solutions will range from five digits to six digits depending on complexity,”” is all he would say now.

VARs will be offered certification and training for assembling solutions and understanding the market, just as it does for other technologies, Walsh said.

The acquisition is part of Ingram’s diversification strategy, which has seen it set up consumer electronics, gaming. logistics and components divisions.

Since the economic downturn “”we saw a three year decline or decrease in demand where lots of companies went into reaction mode,”” Walsh said. “”We see the industry [now] with directional arrows up. We see resellers expanding into areas of new business. The IT landscape has changed. The definition of a solution has changed, and this comes down to a specialized solution.””

When it announced the purchase Ingram said the deal will give it access to a high-growth market, expand its enterprise mobility offerings and bring new partnership opportunities to both its manufacturer and solution provider customers.

Nimax customers will benefit from access to Ingram’s credit capacity, as well as its training, marketing and business development resources, Ingram said.

Ingram also noted demand for AIDC/POS solutions are being driven by health care regulations, the push to upgrade POS scanners to hand new 13-digit codes (also known as “”Sunrise 2005″”) and increased interest in radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

“”This is not going to be for all resellers,”” said Walsh, “”but we have already heard over and over again from all experts in the industry that you have to evolve your business to move out of product supply ad into business solutions supply.””

The move puts Ingram up against giant ScanSource Inc., a Greenville, S.C-based value-added distributor of POS-related equipment in North America, Europe and Latin America. However, it had nothing to say about Ingram’s impending debut.

“”We don’t comment on our competitor’s business,”” said Melissa Andrews, a ScanSource spokesman.

ScanSource had estimated revenues for its combined POS, voice and communications divisions for the first quarter ending Sept. 30 of just over US$350 million. By comparison Nimax’s revenues for all of 2003 totalled US$72 million.

Tech Data has also moved into this market.

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