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October 24, 2008

Ingram Micro Earnings Call: What We Should ALL Learn and DO

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Ingram Micro announced its third quarter results yesterday.  This earnings call was my eighth earnings call this week.  And yet, it was one of the most important for business survival—if you listened to the messages.

Greg Spierkel, CEO, of Ingram Micro and his top executives, gave a sober market assessment of the U.S., European, Asia Pacific, and Latin American business environment for the technology company.  It was not a pretty picture, other than in Latin America, which is headed by Frenchman Alain Maquet, one of Ingram Micro’s best kept secrets. 

As Spierkel indicated, the July to September period was bumpy and the typical post-summer business bounce was AWOL.  Not much of a surprise given the daily heartburn most have been feeling watching the stock market’s volatility. 

Beyond the Ingram Micro regional performance snap shots, which anyone involved in global business should study, management provided business priorities that are applicable to ever IT business—VAR, distributor, hardware manufacturer, software publisher, and so forth.  Here’s an excerpt of three Ingram business priorities that we should all immediately adopt: 

  • Continually align operating expenses with the declining demand environment
  • Focus on improving profitability through old fashion belt tightening and new growth investments
  • Focus on your (customer) sweet spot and, when necessary, prune unprofitable business relationships

Concise.  Thoughtful.  Actionable.  On point.

There is no doubt that some geographies and businesses are facing the worst economic environment in years.  As Spierkel pointed out after the earnings call, “the big question that hangs over all business, not just tech, is when is the recovery and what form will it take.  Until then, many of us are in for more choppy times.” 

So take a page from the Ingram Micro play book and get ahead of the pain cycle.  These Ingram Micro business priorities will help every business weather the chaos, no matter if it is six months or three years. 

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