Merisel, D&H move to expand fed business

Two computer product distributors, Merisel Inc. and D&H Distributing Company Inc., recently announced changes designed to grow their business with resellers that sell in the federal market.

Merisel, El Segundo, Calif., has signed an agreement with Allied Telesyn International, Sunnyvale, Calif., to give its 35,000 authorized resellers across the country access to Allied Telesyn's General Services Administration schedule products.

"What Merisel and Allied Telesyn have done is partner together to provide a preferred buying vehicle," said Curt Cornell, director of Merisel's government and education division.

Allied Telesyn sells switches, routers, hubs and other equipment for fiber-optic and mixed networks. Merisel resellers will have access to selected networking products on the Allied Telesyn schedule as well as transceivers, media converters and fiber-optic local-area network connectivity devices for workgroup and desktop environments.

Merisel resellers located near federal government facilities will have a better chance to capture local business under the arrangement, and they can offer local service and support, Cornell added.

"Not everything is Beltway-centric," he said. "There is plenty of demand for IT products everywhere." Only a fraction of Merisel's partners have negotiated their own schedules with GSA, and many of those partners receive assistance from Merisel in maintaining the schedules, Cornell said.

Expansion of D&H Distributing

In a similar announcement, D&H Distributing said it will create a government services division to provide government resellers with exclusive services and a range of the most popular products.

The services will include government discounts with most manufacturers, a dedicated staff of government account specialists, fast response to inquiries through D&H Distributing's Quick Quote System and six warehouses across the country that can fulfill orders in one to two days.

D&H Distributing, Harrisburg, Pa., was founded 81 years ago as a distributor of electronic products. It began distributing computers, software and peripherals 15 years ago and is now one of the country's largest distributors.

The company built its reputation on customer service and wants to be a distribution partner for government resellers as opposed to just a distribution source, said Fred Humbert, who has been selected as director of the company's new division.

Humbert said D&H Distributing hopes to repeat its record in the education market. The company started a division to serve education resellers a few years ago, and it is now one of the top distributors in the sector, he said.

The first priority for the new division will be to find out what federal resellers are not getting from their current distributors and "try and fill in the gaps," Humbert said. "It's a challenge to try to come up with something different for the customer, but sometimes you find it's something old-fashioned like customer service that they are lacking."

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