Thinking outside the box: Midwich on its InAVation Awards success

With just three months to go before the 2018 InAVation Awards, Charlotte Ashley speaks to the company recognised as ‘Distributor of the Year’ at the 2017 event to find out the secret behind its success.

“Our tagline is ‘our expertise is your advantage’ and we shouldn’t say it if it’s not true,” explains Jon Dew-Stanley, director at Midwich’s technical division, on what led to the company’s success at the InAVation Awards last February.

“Our investment in training is an integral part of the puzzle,” he says. And the facts back that  up  –  the  UK-distributor  spent  its  highest amount  on  record,  £257,000  (€290,000),  on staff education last year and is currently putting its entire technical team through CTS training. “We  may  have  a  specialist  in  audio,  but  they should have a good understanding of the system that connects to the video system or the signal distribution on the network,” adds Dew-Stanley, whose  36-strong  team  has  already  supported over 2,000 customers in 2017.

This  approach  goes  beyond  specialists into account management too  –  as  the result of an increased focus on customer-wide surveys to  target  areas  of  the business  in need of development. “We wanted our account managers to be able to handle those frontline calls – not just do quotes or point them in right direction, but  increase  their  knowledge  and  improve  the service time back to the customer,” explains Iain Campbell, sales director at Midwich.

At the heart of the business is the careful balance and marriage of bringing technology to  market and listening to integrators’ needs. “It’s about so much more than what a product does than what it  is  –  for  instance,  in  education  showing  how a  lecture  can  be  more  than  a  PowerPoint  on  a screen by demonstrating the benefit of teachers being able to take somebody’s work and present someone else’s next to it or record their class.”

With an increasing migration to centralised equipment going on the network, Dew-Stanley says it’s more important than ever Midwich be on hand to offer assistance at any stage of a project.

Expansion  has  also been key  to  driving the  company  forward  –  with  the  distributor recently increasing its presence in Europe with the acquisition of Netherlands-based specialist Gebroeders  van  Domburg,  following on from the  acquisition  of  Earpro  earlier  this  year.  It now  employs  over  650  people  across  the  UK and  Ireland,  France,  Germany,  Iberia,  Benelux and  Australasia.  “It  was  great  to  receive  the InAVation  Award  as  it  was  recognition  across Europe for the Midwich Group,” says Campbell. “We’ve got a decent footprint here and can service around 70% of the AV market. But for us, it’s important we don’t buy and forget.”

The company recently announced a revenue increase of 33.6% to £211.6 (€237.9) million for the first half of 2017. Midwich may have surpassed the traditional role of the distributor and moulded itself as an international partner to its integrator and reseller customers, but the company hopes to support every type of company; “We’re proud that the credit that we put into the channel, £56 million in total, helps customers of all sizes win their business,” says Campbell.

The 2018 InAVation Awards will be held in Amsterdam on February 6.

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