"In the second quarter this year we grew by 15% in Europe, whilst in Spain we suffered a 10% drop, with all eyes now set on the pre-Christmas campaign". These were the words of Oriol Cornudella (Lic&MBA 85), Managing Director (Mediterranean Region) of Tech Data Europe, at the academic year's first Matins ESADE, sponsored by Ernst&Young and in collaboration with La Vanguardia.
The director of the top IT product provider didn't refer to future growth forecasts, but he did underline major differences between crisis-hit European countries. On this, he pointed out that the "growth rate amongst European countries experiencing debt problems, such as Spain, Portugal or Italy, hovers between 15 and 20% in the IT sector".
Cornudella said that the company's priority is not to grow by taking over other firms, explaining that “in times of crisis, purchase prices are lower, which in the past three years has helped us purchase by following a price strategy, but very selectively and in certain market niches¿. He added that the aim is to continue growing along these lines, but moderately, saying that “we're very conservative in that sense¿.
The Tech Data MD stressed that he prefers direct product sales as a form of growth, which is why the company works with 5% margins. Currently, 80% of business comes from the wholesale side of the company, with the remaining 20% from direct sales. “Company development over the past ten years has come mainly from organic growth, in other words, by creating new centres¿ he explained.
According to Cornudella, “in a climate of crisis there's a widespread obsession to sell for selling sake without earning money¿, which he believes is a mistake. “One of the main problems is attempting to sell more by biting off margins, which makes the company unable to manage things¿. Therefore, in his opinion, “it's vital to have a system that measures the elements that make up the price¿.
How to tackle the crisis
"You must try to be number one or a very close second always". This is one of the philosophies that Oriol Cornudella endeavours to apply at Tech Data. He highlighted that "the ICT market has shrunk by 30% and we've had to adapt our infrastructures regarding fixed costs and variable costs", adding that the variable costs structure has been reduced by 8-10% this year.
One of the key factors for Cornudella in the current climate is productivity. "You must understand where to disinvest to then invest where there's a better return". This is why, he said, "it's essential to combat the despondency and lack of effort that companies suffer when faced with a tough situation". "If we are able to convey this culture in the company, we'll be stronger than the competition", he concluded.
Tech Data Corporation, founded in 1974, is a leading global provider of IT products, logistics management and other value-added services. Ranked 111th on the Fortune 500, the company and its subsidiaries serve more than 90,000 technology resellers in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. Tech Data's extensive service offering includes pre- and post-sale training and technical support, financing options and configuration services as well as a full range of electronic commerce solutions. The company generated sales of $21.4 billion for its most recent fiscal year, which ended 31st January 2007.
Oriol Cornudella (Lic&MBA 85), General Manager of Tech Data's Mediterranean region and a member of Tech Data Europe's Executive Committee, will feature this new session of Matins ESADE titled "Tech Data, the difference in IT distribution".
Welcome, introduction and closing:
Miguel Trías (MBA 89), President of ESADE Alumni
Conference: Oriol Cornudella (Lic&MBA 85), eneral Manager of Tech Data's Mediterranean region and a member of Tech Data Europe's Executive Committee
Discussion: Jordi Goula, economics editor at La Vanguardia
Born in Barcelona 49 years ago, Oriol Cornudella is now General Manager of Tech Data's Mediterranean region and a member of Tech Data Europe's Executive Committee. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and an MBA from ESADE, as well as a Bachelor’s Decree in Economics from the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC). He began his career at Tech Data 19 years ago, after 6 years at Andersen Consulting and Accenture. As one of the largest distributors of technology products worldwide, Tech Data operates in over 100 countries, has a turnover of more than 24 billion dollars and employs more than 10,000 people. At Tech Data, Cornudella has held various executive positions in financial management and European projects, both in Spain and in other European countries. In his current post, he is responsible for the general management of all Tech Data divisions in the Mediterranean region (Iberian Peninsula and Italy). Cornudella stands out for his passion for sports, especially competitive sailing. In his youth, he won several Spanish sailing championships and took second, third and fourth place in European tournaments. He continues to practice this sport at the highest level.