Ingram Micro’s new local boss Tim Ament has a simple message for the channel: “Partner like you have never partnered before.”
The company’s new chief country officer for Australia and New Zealand warned that complexity in the marketplace, even prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, made it essential for the channel to collaborate.
“There's not really one partner that can do it all,” Ament told CRN.
“It's very hard to be proficient across infrastructures of service, cybersecurity data centre, cloud technologies, edge devices, and IoT.”
“So partnering more than ever, I think is critical for resellers. That's with each other and certainly we welcome that partnership with Ingram Micro.”
Ament, a 23 year veteran of Ingram replaced Felix Wong, who left the distributor in February.
The Californian has held a number of senior roles in the US including in vendor management, components, consumer and most recently in advanced solutions.
He said that the new challenge of running the ANZ business, his first role as a country head, will allow him to leverage that experience.
“It's the closest I could come to working for a new company without leaving the company that I love and have been with the last 23 years,” he explained
“Moving to somewhere new that, in some ways is very similar to California in terms of climate, but in many ways it's very different culturally is exciting, so my wife of 28 years and I can't wait to get there."
Ament said that while he felt he was well placed to succeed in the role, he did have one weakness.
“The thing that I get to focus on which I value greatly is relationships. That's the piece I obviously don't have,” he explained.
To compensate, Ament said he has been working closely with Ingram’s local personnel to build on the existing relationships they have with partners and form new ones.
“I look forward to meeting partners actually getting there and getting time with partners, both the vendors and the customer partners because at the end of the day, relationships is where everything starts and finishes. This is foundational to everything we do."
Transacting with partners will be a key part of building mutually beneficial relationships and Ament said Ingram was adding increased flexibility to relieve the strain from the COVID-19 outbreak.
“One of the things we have done really well is that we have made the investment around changing consumption models,” he said.
“We have made over US$500 million in investments in our global Cloud Marketplace. It is not a single solution that needs to be modified for each country, it is a single marketplace that [has been built by] multiple acquisitions across leading platforms which we have brought underneath Cloud Blue.”
Ingram has also partnered with a number of financial services companies to offer flexible billing solutions to the local channel.
Ament said this will enable partners to maintain cash flow at a time when it has never been more important. He added that simplifying the way partners transact with the distributor would be welcomed by the channel.
“That has been a global focus for us and the key is we have to show up as one,” he said.
“We spent a lot of time and effort making sure we can take all those capabilities and simplify it for our customers to take advantage.”
Supply chain surety
Maintaining adequate supply to meet the demand of an economy in flux will be crucial for Ingram in the coming months. Ament said Ingram had been leveraging it’s global reach and ability to negotiate with vendors to ensure local supply.
“During this time we've been working with a number of our vendors to try to come up with unique programs that help support our partners and their users during the crisis,” he said.
“The supply decisions are really driven by the vendor, so our job is to continue to make sure we have the right amount of stock on order. We're working closely with the vendors around getting etas and aligning shipments with freight carriers, which has been a challenge.”
Ament said the other big focus in his first month has been to make sure Ingram’s distribution center stays operational.
“We implemented our business continuity plan several weeks back ahead of any government mandates or anything like that, to ensure we split our shifts into multiple shifts.”
“We changed the way we are handling goods to ensure the safety of our associates, because maintaining the operations in our distribution centers is critical to the needs of our partners and our business.”
“It's a lot of coordination, a lot of efforts across the vendors. We can also leverage our financial strength to make sure that we're using our balance sheet and our working capital to bring in the right amount of inventory as well.”