24 Nov 2020 Hugh Garrod Interview
Hugh Garrod – In Discussion
2020 HAS BEEN AN EXCEPTIONAL YEAR
HERE’S A DISCUSSION WITH PURDICOM MANAGING DIRECTOR, HUGH GARROD
As we all start to think about closing off for 2020, a year which has seen unprecedented change and upheaval for most businesses and for us all personally, we took the time to have a chat with Hugh, our much-beloved MD.
Fortunately for us here Purdicom, we have always operated as a close-knit team and even through this difficult period, where most of us are working from home and spread out across Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties, we have kept in close communication with frequent updates and virtual get-togethers. This has helped us to maintain the flow of information on what is happening across the business and in the wider industry as a whole – something which is core to the values of our business.
Here, we would like to share with you some thoughts and reflections on the year so far and a view on what the future holds.
This year has been challenging for all businesses, across the board. As a business leader in the channel, what are your main take-aways?
“My main takeaway is just how great and resilient our customers are and how they have adapted so well to such an awkward time. Without them, Purdicom would not have survived, and we cannot thank them enough for their business, loyalty and ongoing support. Purdicom has managed not only to weather this storm but also, we have learnt a lot in terms of how to better communicate with our customers and partners. We will see a lot more customer contact taking place remotely which in turn will accelerate the pace of business.
Now that we have all been forced to embrace working remotely, many people who were previously sceptical, have been won over. Of course, many people working in the channel will go back to offices when it is safe to do so, but some of our working practices have now changed forever.
We have, on the whole, been lucky as IT is one of the few sectors that has not been affected as badly as say the hospitality industry.
I hope that when we are able to move on from COVID, we can glean some good from these experiences to carry forward. In particular, using technology to bring us together in ways we had not valued before, free-up time for the personal connections we all need and lessen our impact on the environment in the process.”
Other upcoming challenges include Brexit. What is Purdicom doing to minimise the impact on its partners?
“According to recent opinion polls, Brexit is still quoted as 60% we are going to get a deal and 40% not (yougov, Sept 2020). My opinion is that although there are genuine attempts to resolve this, it is still highly doubtful that we will come to an agreement at this late stage and the odds reduce with every week that goes by. In terms of our own scenario planning and the anticipated impacts Brexit may have on us and our supply chains, there is much we can do.
We have the ability to ship or fly direct into the UK either going direct from the far East or via the Netherlands. If we ship, it may well get held up at port initially but as it is not coming from Europe it should not impact us too much.
Goods that are coming in from say the Netherlands by road will no doubt be held up, so we are significantly increasing our stocks of equipment to cope with any delay. Our carriers, who are the real experts, are fairly confident that if we revert to WTO terms, we will still be able to get goods through Europe, but they may be delayed.
What is not so amusing is the fall in currency that will occur if we do not obtain an agreement with the EU. I have been advised that at worst the pound (GBP) will go down to $1.20 (USD) at worst or $1.25 (USD) at best which is a drop of nearly 10% or 5%. We are of course making sure that we can honour existing rates for as long as possible, but at some stage they may well need to change.
We also need to watch the cost of air freight due to the lack of passengers on planes which has sent prices through the roof and this is going to continue until travel picks up from the dismal 20% of previous levels.
Purdicom has for a long-time traded with many partners around the world and especially in Europe which accounts for 12% of our business, so we will be taking whatever measures are needed to ensure that this continues. This may involve opening a subsidiary in Ireland the Netherlands or France where we can also establish an EU warehouse. We have already looked into this so we can move very quickly.”
What are you excited about moving forward into 2021 and what does the future hold for Purdicom?
“We are looking forward to getting out and meeting our customers once more as well as continuing to hold regular Team and Zoom catch-ups. As I say, things have changed, but Purdicom is dedicated to the channel and our objective is to do business however it works best for our partners.
We will be holding enhanced stock levels in 2021 which is made possible with our new and expanded warehousing which we took on this year. This will allay any Brexit fears and ensure we are as prepared as we can be moving forward.
We will be expanding up our technical Team and will be offering even more professional services to continue to support our partners.
We see sales increasingly rise as our wireless, security and cloud networking offerings are able to enhance the way we all work. We also know more and more of our partners are looking to us for complete solutions rather than simply fulfilling one aspect of an end-user’s requirements. This is a definite trend, and we welcome the opportunity to continue to work closely with our partners and vendors to this end.
Our own adoption of our cloud and security products has shown us how easy it is to knit them all together and we will be offering our customers an unprecedented level of support to help them do this too. We are going to be enhancing our web store and this is something that we will be developing alongside special marketing tools.
We can see significant growth prospects which reflect the Bank of England’s increase in GDP of 7.25% – 9%. Overall, at Purdicom we are very optimistic about 2021.”
To contact Purdicom, call +44 (0)1488 647 647