Ingram’s plans for Avad indicate shift towards home technology

Avad, a distributor of home technology integration solutions, which was acquired by Ingram Micro last year, is coming to Canada. Just not now, according to Greg Spierkel, CEO of Ingram Micro Inc. of Santa Ana, Calif.

Spierkel, who grew up in Cite Isle, Que., was visiting Ingram Micro Canada Wednesday and confirmed the distributor wants to move the Avad division to Canada within two years.

Before being acquired, Avad was a privately held alliance of 12 companies employing 280 people. Consumer electronics is a major focus for the distributor, Spierkel said.

“We are making some new investments in CE with all the convergence happening. It was a conscious decision made by Kevin Murai (company COO and former Ingram Canada president) to jump on that early with Xbox and Extreme,” he said.

Ingram has been slowly signing up CE vendors over the past year. Spierkel has a goal to double the Avad business this year. Besides Canada, Avad is also targeted for its European and Asian operations.

The reason for the two-year wait, Spierkel said, is because the company wants to set up the U.S. market first with Avad depots in large metro areas. Spierkel pointed out that Avad covers the high end of the consumer market. “It is a growing market that is currently not served well by any distributor in this country. It is also a fragmented market with only a specialize set of resellers (serving) the home entertainment segment,” he said.

Avad has a customer base of more than 8,000 in the U.S., but one third of those are new.

Spierkel expects large metro areas such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver would have tens of thousand of home entertainment customers that need servicing.

Ingram’s CE business is outpacing its core IT business worldwide. Spierkel said many CE vendors are looking at broadline distributors such as Ingram Micro to increase their market coverage beyond retail. One reason for HP’s recent success in its CE business is that the Palo Alto, Calif.-based computing giant has strong relationships with distributors who understand logistics and the supply chain.

CE vendors approach the market by choosing a niche player in a geography and or dealing exclusively with retail. “They now are seeing that Ingram Micro can bring its products to tens of thousands of customers. There is a whole new refresh going on with DLP, plasma upgrades and Blu-Ray discs along with HDTV is also driving this change,” he said.

Spierkel also wants to boost the distributor’s private label business. Last year, it brought V7 monitors to Canada and the U.S. to help system builders who do not have a brand name preference and other retailers looking for a house brand.

However, Spierkel added that beyond accessories and consumables he does not foresee Ingram Micro getting into private label notebooks, desktops and printers.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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