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D&H Invests In New Hires, Additional Credit To Support ‘Built For Growth’ Sales Charge

“We are in a great time in a great industry,” said D&H Co-President Michael Schwab. “Whether you are a manufacturer, vendor or a reseller we all depend on each other in such a strategic way I think inevitably D&H will gain share because of the way the market is evolving. There are fewer distributors but our relevance is perhaps as meaningful as it has ever been.”

Just four months into its new fiscal year, D&H Distributing is investing heavily in new hires and providing additional credit to partners to drive robust small medium business (SMB) and midmarket growth.

The Harrisburg Pa distributor- which last year delivered 19 percent growth in US sales in the midst of the pandemic and crossed the $5 billion mark - has recently added 50 employees and upped its credit limits by an additional $75 million.

The new hires – aimed at accelerating growth in areas like cloud, everything as a service, professional services and security- are in addition to 100 new previously planned hires.

Overall, D&H has increased the number of total sales reps focused on emerging technologies by 150 percent and doubled the size of its professional services team.

The $75 million in additional credit per month brings the new credit put in place this year to $375 million.

D&H Co-President Michael Schwab said that new hires and additional credit are part of a “Built For Growth,Generations and Giving” initiative aimed at creating additional customer value.

“It is not just about customer service anymore, it is about how do you create customer value,” he said. “We are doing that by our hiring, by our marketing initiatives, with our presales support, with our professional services,with our as a service model. We are creating value that perhaps has never been seen to this level. For those reasons we expect to grow!”

That dramatic investment in new customer value is poised to help drive another year of robust growth for the distributor, said Schwab “At this moment in time, there is not a better year to be in IT distribution than there is today,” he said. “I feel as D&H we are very fortunate to be in the position we are in: the market is growing, businesses are reopening, the economy’s growing and we are selling technology products that are inherently essential to our personal and professional lives.”

The D&H Built For Growth initiative comes as distribution enters a new era with the blockbuster merger of Tech Data-Synnex, rechristened as TD Synnex. The new TD Synnex, marks the first time in three decades that Ingram Micro has been topped as the world’s largest IT distributor in terms of annual revenue. It also marks the emergence of D&H as the third largest distributor in the North America market.

Schwab sees the consolidation as yet another chapter in IT distribution history in which D&H’s 104- year old legacy and its employee owned model will continue to pay big dividends for partners. “I think inevitably D&H will gain share because of how the market is evolving,” he said. “Now there are fewer distributors but our relevance is as meaningful as it has ever been.”

With the North America market moving from four to three broadline distributors, “the onus is on us to step up and continue to invest ahead of the curve on behalf of our customers and vendors,” said D&H Co-President Dan Schwab. “That is how we look at this. We already were having tremendous success and I think many people we offer a differentiated level of value. Just four months ago, we talked about hiring 100 people now we have hired 150. With credit we were going to add $300 million, we are now on pace for $375 million in credit per month.”

Dan Schwab said he sees the additional investments accelerating the company’s strong tradition of “offering differentiated value.” He sees D&H’s employee owned model – which fuels the company’s ability to be more nimble and flexible than larger private equity owned distributors- as a big differentiator for partners. “Not being public or private equity owned let’s us really invest on behalf of vendors and partners for the next three to five years, not driven by any external factors,” he said.

The new D&H hires are “based on the business demands and the opportunities we see with partners, based on requests for additional training and services and support for our partners,” said Dan Schwab. “This is all about how do we add value and continue to delight our customers and vendors to grow our combined businesses. Ultimately this is about how we do help our partners grow share, take costs out of the equation and allow them to scale.”

One way D&H is helping partners grow is with a stepped up focus on the everything as as service model with a new configuration tool. That allows partners to bundle hardware, cloud services, and partner delivered services in a single monthly bill.

At the same time, D&H is providing automated multi-vendor purchasing, provisioning and subscription management through its Digital Commerce Platform as a means for helping partners accelerate their cloud business.

D&H is also offering a full portfiolio of partner marketing/creative services for partners to drive sales growth for both partners and vendors.

Patrick Booth, CEO and owner of CCB Technology, a national MSP and a CRN Tech Elite 250 award winner, said D&H has been critical in helping CCB drive double digit growth in its managed services business.

Booth credited D&H’s MSP marketplace – under the leadership of D&H Vice President of Cloud and Services Business Jason Bystrak- with helping his company power cloud services sales growth.“That has helped us save our customers money and increase our profits,” he said. “If anybody is looking to get into as a service, the marketplace that the D&H team has built is easy to use, convenient and profitable for MSPs. D&H has taken the complexity out of it.”

D&H’s ability to listen and to respond to the needs of MSPs is critical to CCB’s success in the field, said Booth. “There is a thread that goes through the whole structure of D&H which is people matter,” he said. “You can’t fake that. I think that is the secret sauce of D&H- they are genuine, real people that are committed to helping others grow.”

Booth said he sees D&H helping CCB chart its next era of growth beyond cloud services. “D&H takes the pressure off my shoulders because I know they will present the offers I need to bring to my clients,” he said. “To have a partner you can lean on like that is a big deal. I know when I am ready they’ll be there to help me get to the next level in terms of growth.”

Trox, one of the top educational solution providers in the country with 750 employees, No. 56 on the CRN Fast Growth 2021 list, is also leveraging D&H to help drive sales growth. In the midst of the pandemic, Trox leveraged D&H’s sourcing and services muscle to power 55 percent revenue growth, said Trox Chief Financial Officer Dan Gerelick. He credited D&H with helping Trox to capture a bigger slice of the $17 billion education market opportunity.

“We’re seeing an acceleration of technology being adopted in the classroom, it started last year with computing solutions (during the pandemic),” he said. “We saw a significant increase in Chromebooks into the business. Coming into this year, schools are investing more into the classroom to support hybrid and remote learning platforms.”

D&H was critical in helping Trox get delivery on Chromebooks for major projects in the midst of tight supply constraints and additional credit to help fuel Trox’s growth, said Gerelick. “D&H also did a lot of value added services for us in terms of how they stage and package products for us,” he said. “That makes it easy for us to deploy product to our customer base.”

D&H has been a strong partner helping Trox deliver educational solutions day in and day out- both small and larger deals, said Gerelick. “D&H is definitely one of our top distribution partners,” he said. “What differentiates D&H is the flexibility they have and their ability to solve problems and get responses back to us quickly.”

Gerelick said D&H’s “unique’ employee owned structure gives the company an advantage versus competitors. “We can bring a problem or an opportunity to D&H and we can get a response back in hours and find ways to work toward solutions together that make sense for both of us,” he said. “It’s definitely a very tight relationship and understanding of our business and a true partnership in terms of working together.”

As Trox moves to continue to grow its business, it is anticipating working even more closely with D&H on new opportunities around expanded products lines and capabilities, said Gerelick. “Cloud and securlty are growth areas we are looking at,” he said. “They’ll help provide us the training, knowledge and access to vendor line cards we need to set up our own practices in those areas. We are working together on opportunities that will allow us to leverage their strengths, talents and the investments they have made. We are going to leverage those and scale as we continue to grow with new products and become more of a value added service provider to our customers – providing not only just the hardware but more services, managed services, security and infrastructure that we don’t currently sell today.”

Gerelick said he remains optimistic about the future working side by side with D&H, projecting another strong year of growth. “We continue to see strong growth this year,” he said. “We expect that to continue to accelerate as schools get clarity on federal funding and start getting access to that. We expect things will continue to exciting and growing into next year. D&H will continue to be one of our top distribution partners by continuing to do all the great things it does like helping us get access to the products that we need, providing us with credit lines to continue to grow our business and the solutions and servies they offer us on a day to day basis.”

Twotrees Technologies, L.L.C., headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, has also received critical support from D&H as it has more than doubled its sales since 2019 to $45 million, said Susie Smith, general manager of Twotrees Technologies. “D&H has provided the skill sets to help us grow our business,” she said. “They have allowed us to scale and help us roll out these programs to school districts. I can’t imagine we would have been able to grow as quickly and efficiently over the last several years without D&H. They really treat my business as their business.”

Over the last 18 months, Twotrees Technologies has delivered more than 8,000 Lenovo Chromebooks to the Topeka Public School system, said Smith. “They were very happy we got the Chromebooks,” she said. “D&H and Lenovo have both been great partners.” In that case, D&H went the extra mile to assure timing on the delivery of the Chromebooks.

D&H provides a “personal touch” that sets them apart from other distributors, said Smith.”It’s all about the personal attention we get to help us deliver to our customers from the executive level on down,” she said. “They make sure we are taken care of and we have what we need to represent Twotrees in the best way to our customer. We pick up the phone, talk to the executives and our account manager and they listen. They are able to work with us on a concierge level to customize a solution for our customers.”

D&H’s educational advisory board has also been a critical factor in helping drive growth with new programs and new vendor offerings, said Smith. “D&H’s education industry knowledge is huge for us,” she said. “That is where we live.”

Twotrees maintains the lion’s share of its distribution business with D&H because of the “personal touch” and “customization of services” that the distributor provides to the educational solution provider, said Smith.

“I definitely see Twotrees continuing to grow in partnership with D&H as they grow and add new services,” she said. “It is not going to drop off anytime soon. There is still a lot of unmet needs in education. D&H is going to be key to helping us provide those solutions.”

Michael Schwab,for his part, couldn’t be more optimistic. He sees the new D&H investments as part of the same kind of big growth opportunity the distributor took advantage of 12 years ago at the peak of the great recession.

“In the great recession in 2008-2009, we saw a similar opportunity as we see now coming out of the pandemic,” he said. “You have got cash on the balance sheets. You have corporations that hesitated to invest in new technology because of the uncertainty in the business environment.”

Those corporations are now looking at technology like video collaboration and cyber-security as essential tools to run the business. “We want to be be fully engaged and ready to support all those needs,” said Schwab. “To do that across the breadth of our customer set it requires talented individuals that are product knowledgeable and can help deliver solution technology outcomes. We are betting big on growth.”

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