Channelware, a distribution company aimed at servicing the needs of small and medium sized technology resellers, has opened six branches throughout South Africa, and committed to roll out another six branches in other underserviced regions of the country within the next six months.
Stephan van Rensburg, MD of Channelware, says that the business model the company employs has been designed to help smaller resellers with loyal and defined customer bases overcome many of the challenges they face on a daily basis as well as address the shortcomings in other technology distributors' offerings.
"Our primary differentiators include a well-distributed branch network and a regional stockholding policy, which ensures resellers have access to the products and solutions their customers require, the moment an order is placed," he says.
Apart from viewing stock availability as a critical business component, Van Rensburg says Channelware has gone to great lengths to ensure that an unusually wide variety of products and solutions are available at each of its branches.
"Our product line-up consists of both the products resellers would normally expect from a technology distributor, such as computers, notebooks, printers, accessories and networking equipment, but also office automation equipment and things as far afield as reams of bond paper and a number of stationary items.
"We have gone to great lengths to make the vast array of products and solutions, spread out across the companies in the MB Technologies group and beyond, available to our resellers," he says.
"Channelware has pursued this stockholding strategy since it sees no valid reason for its resellers to have to visit more than one distributor or have a relationship with a raft of different companies just because they need access to products outside of the pure technology realm.
"By addressing their needs, both in terms of technology solutions and products that are complementary to technology solutions, we believe we're fulfilling a vital need and saving them time and hassle," he says.
He adds that the environment Channelware has created in the front-shop of its branches has been designed to help resellers operate more efficiently.
"The moment a reseller arrives in one of our branches they will feel at home immediately," he says. "We have friendly staff, tons of stock on display and everything from computing facilities to printing, copying, laminating and faxing facilities that have been placed in a hot-desk environment, for their convenience.
"Thus far our wide range of products and solutions, as well as the unique in-branch environment we have created has received extremely positive feedback from the resellers that have already begun dealing with us.
"And, although we have now begun offering terms to resellers that have undergone our credit-vetting process, many resellers are still comfortable in dealing with us on a cash-on-collection basis because of the vital niche we are fulfilling in their towns and cities," he says.
"We have great aspirations for this company and faith that by continuing to address the needs of the SMB reseller market specifically, we will be able to expand the operation far outside of the branches we have already opened in Nelspruit, Pretoria, Polokwane, Durban, Bloemfontein and Boksburg."
Van Rensburg says that the wheels of expansion are already in motion.
"In the next six months we will open branches in Randburg, Midrand, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and Witbank," he says.
"Channelware is committed to blazing a new trail in distribution and, in doing so, shaking this market up somewhat. We look forward to expanding our operation substantially over the coming years and bringing that much-needed local touch to the SMB resellers that truly deserve it," he says.