D&H 'Distributes' Some Fiscal Year Positivity

Dan Schwab, the company’s co-president, talks about D&H’s recent 2013 fiscal year-end reports. He offers insights into the mobility category and predictions for FY2014. By Geoffrey Oldmixon

Though, by many measurements, the economy continues to slog along, at least one IT distributor in the channel is claiming to enjoy fairly solid rates of growth. In a recent press release, D&H Distributing told news agencies that is has “experienced more than 8 percent growth for the 2013 Fiscal Year (ending April 30, 2013).”

In an exclusive interview with ChannelPro-SMB, D&H co-president Dan Schwab provides some insight into that 8 percent rate of growth. He explains why he believes his company has faired well and which product categories have provided the greatest sales benefits. He also made some predictions for the rest of 2013 and the year to follow.

KEY TO GROWTH

According to D&H, mobility solutions are the heart of the company’s 2013 success. “Tablet sales at D&H have tripled year-over-year,” states the company press release, “driven by strong showings from Android models in the 7- and 10-inch formats.”

Though the mobile category is formidable, D&H’s Schwab says he believes the distributor’s overall growth can be attributed to a broader factor. “It has a lot to do with our business model,” he says. “We tend to be proactive in taking new technologies to our reseller base.”

He credits the company’s experienced sales team — “our average sales rep has 10 years tenure,” he says — and active communication style. Nevertheless, there was no denying that some categories performed quite well for D&H this fiscal year … and others did not.

SOLUTIONS AND PRODUCTS

This year some mobile categories were challenging, Schwab admits. “Notebook sales were relatively flat,” he says. “We had to spend some time talking about how we could mobilize workforces so they weren’t just waiting to sell notebooks.”

As a result, D&H redoubled its efforts in other mobile categories, like tablets and remote storage. It was able to recoup flat notebook sales by “proactively leading the solution versus just the point product,” Schwab says.

D&H also broadened its Partner Services program, a business model through which partners gain access to collateral, marketing materials, and customized solution templates. “The multiple solutions sold together often create the opportunities,” Schwab explains.

UP AND COMING

When asked about the 2014 Fiscal Year, Schwab again looks toward mobile categories. “We saw tablets as one of the fastest growing areas this fiscal year, specifically Android,” he says. “And we saw a dramatic interest in Windows 8-based tablets.”

Schwab believes Windows 8-based tablets will soon be very popular due to the ease with which IT managers can support them. “Employees can open all their apps, it’s easy to login,” Schwab says of Windows tablets. “I believe we’re just still scratching the surface with Windows 8 and touch.”

Server and related technologies will also continue to grow, according to Schwab.