Osmosis plugs its gaps


1 April 2005

Following a move to new 40,000sq ft premises in Swords, Co Dublin, Irish IT distributor Osmosis is embarking on a new strategy to promote its brand awareness and plug in the remaining gaps in its product portfolio.

The firm, which was formed in April 1999 as the result of a management buyout from the bankrupt UK distributor of the same name, distributes PC components and peripherals. It is also Microsoft’s biggest OEM distributor in Ireland.

The new base is estimated to be some eight times bigger than the company’s old headquarters, which was also in Swords. The new building was formerly a manufacturing base for Canadian graphics card company ATI Technologies, which closed the operation in March this year with the loss of more than 100 jobs.

The move also coincides with the appointment of sales director Brian Honan as the new managing director, replacing Graham Foster, who stepped down last month. Honan says the new premises will be a great boost to Osmosis’ corporate image and professionalism, as space in the old headquarters nearby was getting a bit tight. ‘We were all a bit on top of each other. It was getting to the point where we always had have to have external meetings away from the office,’ he said.

Despite difficult times for hardware distributors, the company managed to sustain its revenues in 2002 at nearly EUR23m. Honan expects revenues in 2003 to reach around EUR27-28m.
‘Osmosis Ireland have had to keep “thinking on our feet” so to speak,’ he said. ‘Also we are not one of the large safe broadline distributors, therefore we are able to shift, change and adapt to market conditions and sentiment. In saying that, we do have niche markets to concentrate on. This makes us slightly different to the run of the mill IT distributors out in the Irish market.’

The company distributes products from Microsoft, NEC, Samsung, Mitsubishi, MRI, Keytronic, Maxdata and Elitegroup, among others. Honan says the company is actively seeking new partners in order to plug gaps in its product portfolio. For instance, Osmosis would like to include PCs from one of the top five vendors as part of its offerings.

The audio visual sector has been a top performer for the firm, which is a distributor for LG Electronics and Videologic products. The company manufactures a complete CCTV system called Ozone, which is also a top seller at 500 units a year. Osmosis also build complete PCs and inkjet and laser printer cartridges under the Ozone brand.

Osmosis has 75 per cent of the Microsoft OEM market in Ireland, a strength that its original parent company also held in the UK before it went under. The company is working on a major marketing offensive to boost its brand awareness, including co-branding with a number of its vendors and the introduction of a redesigned Web site and extranet that customers can log on to check account details online.
‘I think we’ve created a good brand for ourselves, but we want to be seen as a force to be reckoned with,’ said Honan.


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