Channel chat: Dave Dunne, Westcoast
Celebrating 30 years in business, Westcoast’s Dave Dunne talks to Billy MacInnes about reinvention, retaining the passion and openness to new ways of doing business
22 October 2019 | 0
In 30 years of business, a company will experience changes; reinvention is key to ensure customers can see tangible business benefits when they use your services. Over the course of its history, Westcoast has seen huge shifts in customer and vendor requirements. It has been focused on customer-centric service, agility and experience to react to business changes to fuel business growth and continued expansion in Ireland.
Vendors, resellers, business partners and staff have all made a significant contribution to the company’s success. Westcoast has an impressive roster of vendors on its books, including Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Aruba, HP Inc, Microsoft, Lenovo and Samsung.
Dave Dunne, general manager at Westcoast Ireland, is keen to highlight the role of vendors, partners and employees in the company’s success. “I’d like to thank partners and vendors for all their support, for working with us through turbulent times over the past 30 years, and I’d also like to thank our staff, past and present, for their contribution to the business.”
The distributor has had a busy year to date. “We have recruited additional experienced staff to bring our local team to 35+, refurbished and modernised our offices, invested in a training facility and strengthened our technical and marketing capability in Ireland,” he reveals.
Dunne stresses the distributor’s ongoing loyalty to the Irish market. “Westcoast is committed to the Irish market. We’ve stuck with it through economic challenges. We’ve been here for 30 years and I am proud to say we have a great reputation in the market. We’ve invested in Ireland at times when it’s been difficult, when others didn’t, and they pulled out of the market.”
The role of distribution has been highly competitive in recent years where distributors have either been wining market share or racing to the bottom. “A couple of years back, distributors were seen as the weak link and their future was under question, but I see a great future for Westcoast because the opportunity is growing,” he remarks.
Dunne notes that the reseller community has also gone through major changes. “I remember when resellers had their own vans and warehousing. There are very few now as the overhead is prohibitive. We manage their end to end logistics for them with our on-site warehousing and distribution centre in Tallaght.”
Many resellers are now “multi-vendor and it’s very hard for them to have accreditation on every piece of kit and solution. Distribution supports partners on the easiest route to launch to market. Westcoast offer economies of scale on end-to-end logistics and delivery because I’m servicing 300+partners. Individual partners couldn’t factor in the additional cost to their bottom line”.
He argues that Westcoast “understands the reseller business” and has experience on the challenges, solutions and costs involved. The distributor’s main objective is to provide the services and support that give resellers the ability to concentrate on what they need to do. “We want to keep them doing what they’re good at. We’re there to support them and to help grow their business. If I help them grow their business, I’m growing my own,” he comments.
That is not to ignore the old standbys of credit and stockholding, which are always important and may become more so after Brexit. Like other distributors, Westcoast has made good use of its UK parent to service the Irish market, but Brexit may pose difficulties to their traditional way of transacting business. Vendor “UK and Ireland” distribution deals could be constrained, if not eliminated.
“Could vendors end up splitting their UK and Ireland contracts? There’s an opportunity to open the discussion because of our presence here and our relationships. Brexit opens up a whole new world of distribution,” Dunne believes. “What will vendors do post-Brexit? I think the role of the distributor will get stronger and there will be an opportunity for those of us on the ground to react and respond with solutions.”
From Westcoast’s perspective, it has a logistics hub and warehouse in Ireland through its acquisition of Clarity Computer Distribution in 2006. While the company has relied mainly on its UK warehousing to date, if Brexit presents difficulties, the distributor will be able to exploit its Irish facilities which can provide local stock holding, imaging and asset tracking.
Dunne notes that Clarity is still a legal entity with several distribution deals in Ireland and that could come in useful post-Brexit as it may give Westcoast the ability to buy directly from Europe.
In addition, the company has its own credit control people in Ireland, so it has a much better insight into Irish partners and the market here.
While restating the distributor’s commitment to its existing vendors and the part they have played in its growth, the company is also on the lookout for new vendors and resellers. Westcoast currently deals with around 500 partners a month in Ireland and is proactively engaged in recruiting resellers with a software and solution selling focus as it seeks to expand its Microsoft partner base.
Dunne acknowledges that cloud is having a major effect on the industry and Westcoast is “backing both horses” of traditional distribution and cloud. He argues the distributor’s roots in the traditional hardware business and existing relationships with resellers means that “if we come and talk to resellers about the cloud, there’s more chance they will listen to us because we have that relationship and we have that pipeline. We’re a safe pair of experienced hands.”
His message to Irish resellers in the distributor’s 30th year is to stress “the passion we have for the business. There are new ways of doing things and we’re open to them. We’re on the right track for working with people, to put our best foot forward together and drive Irish business for all of us because that’s where we all make our living”.
Dunne adds that the distributor has the capability to “do business with new vendors and existing vendors, there is no barrier for us. Brexit is probably the best catalyst for change. It’s going to play to our strengths. We’re in Ireland, we’ve invested here, and we have a track record. We can look at what’s coming down the line and get ready for it. We’re in a good position to work with people in the Irish market. We don’t have all the answers, but we’re open for business and happy to have a conversation to see how we can take their business forward.”
To grow your business with Westcoast, contact
Clarity House, Belgard Rd, Tallaght, Dublin 24