D&H's Dan Schwab: As Other Distributors Invest In The Enterprise, We Remain 'Laser-Focused' On SMB


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D&H Distributing Co-President Dan Schwab said his company has no intention of following in the footsteps of competitors Tech Data and Synnex and acquiring its way into larger customer accounts.

"There's been a lot of changes in the distribution landscape, and more and more distributors are focused on the enterprise market," Schwab told CRN during the Mid-Atlantic Summer Technology Trade Show in Hershey, Pa. "While we're doubling down [on SMB], other people are taking those chips off the table and deploying them elsewhere."

Tech Data purchased Avnet Technology Solutions in February for $2.6 billion, while Synnex announced plans to buy Westcon Americas in June for up to $800 million. This will leave North America with just six distributors – including D&H – that have annual sales exceeding $1 billion.

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"Clearly, when you see who is being acquired in those first two [Tech Data and Synnex] examples, it's about the data center and the enterprise," Schwab said. "This is where many broadline distributors see growth and see margin and see their future, whereas we see our future as squarely, smack, right on SMB."

D&H is unique among distributors thanks to its free pre-sales and post-sales support, Schwab said, as well as a dedicated sales rep for every channel partner regardless of size. D&H's sales reps have, on average, been with the company for 10 years, Schwab said.

"We just keep evolving it [our support] and making it better," Schwab said. It's standing out to our customers that much more because it's not existing elsewhere."

Harrisburg, Pa.-based D&H serves as a trusted adviser, he said, helping VARs craft holistic solutions regardless of their size.   

Channel partners that begin doing business with D&H typically find that the company's support is greater than anything they've ever experienced before, Schwab said. In the past, Schwab said some channel partners didn't know D&H since, as recently as a decade ago, the distributor didn't carry Cisco or Hewlett-Packard's enterprise computing products. 

"If they already had great destinations, they never became familiar with us," Schwab said. "But more and more, people are seeing our value proposition."

Vendors have also increasingly turned to D&H for high levels of coverage and support around their small-business products, Schwab said. As many suppliers reduce their headcount, Schwab said they are often unable to support small-business resellers themselves.   

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