For all of the innovation happening in the consumer technology world, the industry’s distributors find themselves having to change and keep pace. Just like the retailers and vendors they work with and serve, distributors like Ingram Micro find themselves having to adjust to better set their resellers up for success.
And for Ingram, setting resellers up for success is a major theme here during their CTS Expo in San Diego. That process, according to Kirk Robinson, Senior VP for Ingram’s US business, involves not only a suite of tools and services for retailers, but also some internal reflection on the distributor’s part as well.
“How do we simplify technology?” he asked the crowd during the opening keynote. “What are the solutions that we can bring to you so that you can be that trusted advisor, the hero for your customer?”
To better reflect the changing nature of the industry and their offerings, Ingram announced that the CTS group would become the Business + Consumer Solutions group.
“It’s time to change,” said Craig Birmingham, VP and General Manager of the group.
To their credit, Ingram’s CTS arm has changed plenty over the years. The first CTS Expo in 2005 happened around the same time Google Maps was launched and involved only a handful of resellers and vendors. Today, the group is a $7 billion business unit that completes some 500,000 shipments out of its warehouses per day.
But continuing with the theme of evolving and changing, Ingram presented a new theme of ONE Ingram, which includes Operational Excellence, Innovation, and Experience. The ONE theme is aimed at helped retailers in attendance and who do business with Ingram throughout the year realize the opportunities that they have to sell new technologies and experiences to their customers. It’s also an opportunity for Ingram to help retailers see the importance of the customer experience—whether that’s in the actual store, through an install or service appointment, or in the experience of having a smart home that simply works and improves the user’s quality of life.
“We have the resources to help you turn those opportunities into real growth for your business,” said Alex Harding, Ingram’s director of vendor management and purchasing.
Inspiring and Giving Back
While the internal updates and trends talks are always informative, the definitive highlight of the opening presentation from Ingram’s San Diego show had to be the inspirational speech delivered by Jim Abbott, the former MLB pitcher who dominated at every level of the sport despite the deck being stacked against him.
Abbott was born without a right hand.
In a handful of minutes and through exceptional storytelling, Abbott connected his experiences to some incredible life lessons that could be applied both individually and on a business level. Summed up, every individual and business is going to face challenges in their life. It’s how you respond to those challenges that defines the individual.
“Great execution and great results comes from trust, preparation, belief, and the ability to deliver,” Abbott said. “You can’t hold back on the mount. The difference between a good pitch and a bad pitch is about an inch, which means you have to trust that you can deliver, believe you will deliver no matter the odds.”
With the crowd buzzing, Ingram then invited everyone to participate in an incredibly unique and applicable charity event. Being in San Diego, one of the most notable military towns in the country, the Ingram vendors and retailers helped stuff “Welcome Home” bags for military members returning from service in Iraq. The bags packed here, Ingram’s Birmingham said, would be delivered to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California—about 45 minutes north of here—where they’d appear on returning troops beds who are scheduled to arrive while the CTS Expo is still going on.