THE doors have closed on Westan after only four months in business, leaving four staff redundant — including director Paul Dixon.
Victor Aghtan, Westan’s Australia-based managing director, lays the blame at the feet of vendors who failed to deliver on promises to support the New Zealand division.
“The biggest problem we had was the implied support from some key vendors, but when we opened up the support wasn’t forthcoming,” he says.
According to Aghtan, the only vendor to come through for the local venture was Benq.
A further nail in the coffin came when Synnex opened in New Zealand.
Aghtan believes some of his vendors chose it as an alternative to Westan.
“It’s a very dynamic market. At the end of the day I wasn’t prepared to fight Synnex for the same market — there wouldn’t have been a winner.”
While some resellers are already dealing directly with Westan Australia, Aghtan says others may go to Ingram Micro or Synnex for pro-ducts, and describes the situation as disappointing.
He estimates the failure cost at $250,000.
Meanwhile, Benq country manager Rick Jansen is now faced with finding an alternative distributor.
“To be honest I’m still thinking about it but it’s a definite possibility. I was trying to support Westan as much as I could and obviously expected it to be around for the long haul — otherwise I wouldn’t have signed,” he says.
He is surprised by the move to shut down Westan New Zealand so soon.
“It’s still very early days and I know the focus was on trying to get a customer base together.”
Richard Harri, Synnex country manager, doubts his company had an impact on Westan as it focuses on a different market sector.
“We target system builders not SME resellers and are very strict on products so they don’t overlap,” he says.
Harri credits Dixon with doing a fantastic job. “I feel really sorry for Paul, he put so much work in and did everything the right way. Right now he should be reaping the rewards for that effort.”
Paul Dixon was unavailable for comment.