Personal touch gives SnapperNet the edge

Personal touch gives SnapperNet the edge

smaller, personalised customer service has helped data communications distributor SnapperNetwork Distributors (SnapperNet) compete with the bigger players, says co-director Mark Forbes.

“We have five staff, we’re very close to our customers and communicate very well with them. We’ve got very good systems in place, logistically and systems wise, to deliver.

The key thing in distribution is getting the right product, to the right place, at the right time.”

He believes SnapperNet’s competitors are often not as close to customers because of their large size.

“The bigger they get, the further they tend to get away from their customers,” he claims. “We recently had a technology seminar day at North Harbour stadium with 50 dealers there. We got our vendors in from overseas so we can put our resellers in the same room with our vendors and have them network on an informal basis which is great.”

Specialisation also helps the company stand out.

“We’re quite vertical and specialised. While some of the brands we have are quite broad ranges, they’re all to do with that realm of networking, data communications or surveillance. So unlike a lot of distributors, we don’t have camps in different markets.”

SnapperNet started in 2000 and was born from Ultra Computers.

“Ultra was a PC assembler and that business was sold last year to Insite. John Gould and myself were owners of that business. About 2000 we had a product range called Micronet and that developed and became more complex with the advent of managed switches. So we set up a division called Micronet and then decided to set it up as a separate company and called it SnapperNet.”

Richard Paul became manager of SnapperNet in 2000 and is now a director.

“Traditionally Richard has run the business with one other person. This changed when Ultra was sold as I came over in July last year. We’ve added three people since then.

“We’ve also added a warehouse and technical resources.”

He says SnapperNet is already seeing positive results because of these additions”. The objective was to get Richard out the door and selling, because that’s what he is good at and he has built up a wealth of knowledge.”

The story of how SnapperNet came to be named after a fish was a case of timing.

Forbes recalls that he was sitting in a car with John Gould on the corner of William Pickering Road and Bush Road on Auckland’s North Shore.

“We had been thinking about a name for some time. We had to make a decision that day by 5pm, as the name had to be registered with the Companies Office. I looked out of the car and saw a truck from Bream Bay Fish Company that had a huge snapper on it. John and I are both keen fishermen so I said `let’s call it SnapperNet’.”

SnapperNet distributes a number of products including Raritan, Level One in Micronet that is a broad range of networking products, IP cameras and KVM products and routers.

“Raritan is quite a big brand for us. That’s a KVM solution for anything from two PCs sharing the same keyboard video mouse, up to large data-server farm solutions of 300 to 400 servers where people want remote access. There is more demand for remote management.”

The company also distributes SnapGear VPN firewall solutions from Secure Computing.

Brands taken on recently include StoreVault, a network attached storage solution from NetApp.

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