The Creation of a Global Channel, a Lasting Connection with Global Customers
Almost two decades ago, Xplore recognised a distinct demand for ruggedised computers emerge worldwide. Much like in the US where government, public safety, and utilities were rapidly investing in groundbreaking computing technologies, manufacturers across Europe, along with field-assigned personnel in nearly every major industry, were seeking improved ways to conduct business.
VDC reported that worldwide shipments of rugged mobile computers had reached $3bn the year before. And Xplore was seeing an uptick in rugged tablet requests from companies in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and other regions where industrial sectors were burgeoning and more advanced technology utilisation was necessitated, both inside and outside the four walls of their facilities.
In 2001, Xplore acted quickly to establish a global sales and distribution operation. But we didn’t take the same approach as many other ‘global’ manufacturers in business at the time, as we weren’t sending US-based Solutions Architects or sales team members overseas every week to meet with customers.
We knew that wasn’t a sustainable model for us, and we knew it wouldn’t serve our customers well long-term. Instead, we established a global network of locally based mobility solution providers that could deliver ‘feet on the street’ support to our customers at a moment’s notice.
Within about 24 months, we signed agreements with:
- Dubai-based Emaar Properties PJSC (Emaar) who sold and supported Xplore’s rugged GeneSys® II and Ramline® wireless pen computing systems in more than 30 countries throughout the Middle East, North Africa, CIS Countries and Indian subcontinent for the next three years
- Goodwin Health Care in Hong Kong, a strategic distributor for Xplore’s rugged mobile products in the People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong
- Mobida Oy and Nokia Networks Oy (‘Nokia’) of Finland to co-market, sell and support Xplore rugged tablets in the region
- Abdulla Fouad, a leading Saudi Arabian IT company that expanded our Middle Eastern distribution channel
- Wistron Corporation, a $2.4 billion global ODM-OEM supplier to the PC industry, that would distribute and service Xplore’s rugged iX104 family of Tablet PCs in the Asia market
During that same time, back in the US:
- We collaborated with CDW Government (CDW-G), which is still an Xplore distributor today, to secure a General Services Administration (GSA) supply listing for our Ramline(TM) and GeneSys(R) product lines
- Dell became the exclusive vendor of Xplore’s rugged iX104G Tablet PC for military and homeland security agencies, marketing and selling the tablets through its GSA schedule contract and other Dell contracts available to the US federal government
Our global expansion gave rise to fast rugged tablet adoption by customers of all sizes, Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies, as well as startups and government agencies. And, more than ever, we began to understand how important it was to bridge communications not only between Xplore and its channel partners, but between the US team and all international stakeholders, especially customers.
We knew that if we equipped our channel with the right resources to drive sales, marketing, and support actions, they’d be able to fulfil customers’ requests without fail every time. So we made four key hires in France, the UK and Germany in 2001 to support Xplore’s rapidly expanding global channel and unify our now truly global operations. And we committed fully to the channel-friendly go-to-market approach still fueling our success today.
In fact, after our recent North American and International Partner Conferences, it became clear that the key to Xplore’s longevity has been the unity of its channel. Xplore’s leaders have always known that by embracing a highly responsive on-call / in-person support model we could provide a more impressive return on investment for our customers.
Our global channel partners are not only technology experts, but experts on their local economic and business cultures who clearly understand how Xplore rugged tablets need to interface with each customer’s technology infrastructure, integrate with existing business practices and be applied to overcome individual challenges.
What we couldn’t fully anticipate in 1996, or in 2001 as we started our worldwide expansion, was just how quickly our channel partners would propel Xplore rugged tablets to the top of the global market and elevate Xplore as The Rugged Tablet Authority™.
Nor could we have anticipated the role of our channel in the integration of Motion assets into the Xplore portfolio in 2015.
Both Xplore and Motion partners have shown unbelievable commitment to our company and our products over the last year. More than 99% of previous Motion partners have chosen to become a part of our ever-growing Xplore channel. And despite a lot of unknowns in the months following the acquisition, all of our worldwide partners chose to unite together, as well as with us, to ensure continuity of customer service.
Perhaps it’s that level of trust in Xplore that has encouraged others to join our team in recent months, including Synnex Corporation and a number of other distribution partners in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Benelux, Germany, Australia, China, and Latin America. Maybe it’s that unity that has enabled our partners, whether a distributor or value-added reseller, to work diligently day-in and day-out to identify customers’ challenges, architect end-to-end mobility solutions, and respond to unexpected issues and rapidly evolving technology requirements.
Xplore may engineer the high-performance rugged tablets that our customers have requested and come to expect over the years, but it’s really the concerted effort of our channel that has enabled Xplore to be agile to the benefit of our customers. It’s our channel that’s allowed Xplore to become large enough to solve customers’ complex problems, but nimble enough to do so quickly.
Additionally, because of the unfailing dedication of our channel partners, we are able to commit the necessary resources to each customer’s projects from start to finish, and continue to provide a high level of personalised support long after the sale is complete.