Mike Purnell, director at Argosy, tells DB about recent developments at the company and plans for the year ahead.
Where is the broadcast industry at now, from your perspective as a distributor of products?
The industry is changing and we all know about 4K and 3G, 3D and everything else. That means that in the background everything else has to change as well, including the basic infrastructure, the cables and connectors, which is what we sell.
What is happening – and it will take years – is a big transfer from copper to fibre, because that carries the bandwidth required for super high definition and everything else.
This meant we had to have a sea change at Argosy. One of the things we have done this year is install a fibre termination system, so we have now have trained operatives who can build SMPTE connectors – it’s a very skilled job to put these connectors on to the cable and now we can do it.
Many connector manufacturers, such as Fischer and Lemo, have versions of fibre optic connectors and we have to be approved by them in order to be able to sell the product, so we have been through approval processes with those companies. So we are now up and running with what was quite a significant investment to be able to put the connectors on to the cables. We made the decision a year ago; we got the kit in and it is now up and running.
What other investments has Argosy made?
We’ve done a similar thing with the racks. We have a new rack system which is much more economical, but what that meant is that we had to invest in more space. The rack comes in piece parts from where we have it made, and now we have an assembly line and we can offer quicker delivery to a customer. Previously, if you wanted a rack, the customer had to order it, made specially. It didn’t matter what size it was, it had to be ordered specially. Now we’ve got the piece parts with the new system, so instead of waiting for the manufacturer we can put together racks in a few days instead of a few weeks. Those two things will make a big difference to our sales going forwards.
Any other developments to tell us about?
We’ve been appointed by a company called A10 which makes PDUs, mains distribution units, KDM switches, and is a world leader for these products. They are very big on the IT side and we have been appointed by them as their broadcast distributor, so we are very happy about that.
How is business in the Middle East?
Growth in the Middle East is very good. It has grown significantly over the last three or four years. Two elements of that are we have our own office in Dubai and we have a very good local sales team run by Abdul Ghani, our sales manager for the Middle East. He works very hard and we have seen growth year on year. We recently took on a third employee for sales support ,which will give Abdul more time to go out to see other potential customers.