“As we’ve scaled our business, we’ve tried to scale our culture and our go to market in parallel so that we remain nimble,” he says. “We want to have very long-term alignment with our customers and vendors.”
For the same reason, he adds, D&H has no intention of joining the growing list of distributors and vendors bought by private equity or executing IPOs.
“We’ve been privately owned for 104 years. That’s not changing,” Schwab says, noting that employees control 36% of that private ownership. “I think it just gives us the ability to have a longer time horizon for all of our decisions.”
As they have for some time, cloud computing, pro AV, e-sports, and everything-as-a-service all loom large on that horizon. Adding outsourced professional services capacity remains a priority as well.
“It’s what we heard from our partners is missing, or that they need to complement their efforts,” Schwab says.
Nearer term, D&H sees growth continuing for itself and its partners, particularly in markets like digital signage, collaboration, and videoconferencing, as well as work-from-home and remote education gear.
“For many categories, demand is still outstripping supply,” Schwab reports.
The steady return of home-based employees to the workplace should fuel additional purchasing in the next couple of quarters as well, Schwab predicts, as businesses ready themselves to meet the challenges of supporting a hybrid onsite/offsite staff.
“We see the back office within small business and the mid-market being a tremendous opportunity, people upgrading their server environment, people upgrading their wireless and their networks and their security,” he says. “They are running a more complex model where not everyone is in the office.”
That’s 2021, however. Schwab is more circumspect about 2022 and beyond.
“I always will use a line that economists were invented to make weathermen look good,” Schwab says. “There’s all sorts of prognostications of what the market’s going to look like in a year or two years, and I think it’s really very challenging to try and pinpoint that.”
Even so, he notes, it’s no coincidence that money is pouring into distributors like SYNNEX, Tech Data, and Ingram Micro at present.
“I believe the IT industry continues to be in a really healthy spot,” Schwab says. “Maybe that’s why people are looking to invest in this market.”