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Systemax completes UK restructuring…

The announcements, anyway

Systemax, the IT mail-order reseller formerly known as Globaldirect, has completed the announcements for its UK consolidation, Les Biggs VP of Europe told us. The changes which should be completed in September will see Systemax's seven UK sites cut to three: Wellingborough, Greenock and Walthamstow.

Forty stores staff are affected by the closure of the Wellingborough Misco warehouse - all UK logistics are to be handled from Greenock. Under UK legislation, they will be offered relocation - but considering the distance it seems unlikely that many if any will make the move.

Systemax is also closing Misco's Uxbridge sales office, and wants to transfer staff for its new £9 million building in Wellingborough. This can house 800 people and should be ready for occupation in August.

Considering that Systemax employs only 750 or so people in the UK, surely this signals the company's intent to move its Simply Computers sales operation from Walthamstow? Last week Systemax told Simply's marketing and web teams (around 35 people, we're told) that their jobs were to be transferred to Wellingborough. And earlier this month, the company announced its intention to transfer Simply's fulfillment from Walthamstow to Greenock.

But Biggs denied that the company had any plans to close Walthamstow altogether: "The (Simply) lease has a few more years to run and we have 180-odd people in sales and support," he said. "Now we have the space to house an even bigger team."

Systemax's UK operations account for "over 40 per cent" of European turnover, and over 50 per cent of staff. There are limited opportunities for consolidation in continental Europe, because of distances and the relatively small sizes of country subs, Biggs said: "We aim for next day delivery, and that's difficult doing it from one place in Germany, let alone all of Europe."

Systemax has three branded mail-order divisions: Globaldirect, Misco, and Simply, all selling more or less the same sort of kit. But there is little crossover, according to Biggs. Misco is 99 per cent B2B, while Simply is mostly consumer, he says.

Last month, Systemax shut down its system building ops in favour of an outsourcing deal with the UK Configuration Centre, in Bishops Stortford. "They take on the risk associated with building PCs and we can concentrate on our core skills, which are selling and marketing," Biggs said. ®


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