Investment sees Wick Hill buck trend

Jan 29, 2013

Wick Hill chairman says investment in growing business during recession has created increase in sales

Following Wick Hill’s recent inclusion in Deloitte’s UK Futures 1000 report, chairman Ian Kilpatrick has attributed the decision to invest in the business, rather than cut back, during the recession to the firm bucking currently the economic trend.

The distributor’s 49 percent increase in sales over the last three years saw it included in the Deloitte report, which lists the 1000 best performing UK businesses through the recession.

Kilpatrick says Wick Hill took the opportunity during the recession to increase investment in marketing, technical support services and financing initiatives. He says it was also active in creating market share for its vendors – both organically and grabbing it from competitors.

“Alongside that, M&A activity certainly hasn’t been a detriment to us, with some weak and some stronger competitors acquired to our benefit,” he adds.

Meanwhile, the chairman says the firm has deliberately chosen to restrict its portfolio to ensure it can provide more focus for its vendors, and ensure it is able to focus on its chosen technology areas.

He also attributes its services-led approach to its success, providing training, consultancy and support services to enable VARs to maximise their services revenues. “Unlike many other distributors, we do not treat these services as a profit focus for us, rather as a service to enable our partners to get up to speed for initial deals – or to support them at times of overload – so that they can then make their own service margins.”

Kilpatrick says the golden rule at Wick Hill, however, is never selling anything direct: “Our goal is to market-make for and with our channel partners to maximise their success. That success then feeds directly back to us. On the services front, we are using those services to support partners to get a bigger piece of the cake. We’re not trying to eat their cake.

“The more successful we can be for our partners, the more support we get for them from our vendors, the more successful they can be. It’s a virtuous circle and it’s particularly effective in a recession when many vendors and distributors are cutting back rather than investing.”

Wick Hill has a turnover of $100m, and 110 staff.

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