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Taking over a large product portfolio for a manufacturer like Dell can prove an exciting challenge. It's made even more so when you've only had a handful of weeks in the role and the crucial holiday season approaches. 

This is what recently appointed product specialist at local distributor Drive Control Corporation (DCC), Heinrich Pretorius, has been tasked with. We chatted to him about his new role, how his industry experience will lend itself to the position, and what short- and long-term goals he has for Dell in the country.

TechSmart: Congrats on your recent appointment. Could you give us some background on your IT industry experience?

Heinrich Pretorius: Before I joined DCC I was the Epson product manager at Rectron, based in Midrand. There, I held the position of product manager for two years, after which I became a part of the DCC team nearly six years ago now. 

At the time, I headed up the portfolios for the likes of Targus. In fact, I have worked for DCC on a number of other brands, including Huawei, Canon and Verbatim, fulfilling a similar product manager role. Having worked in the IT industry before my time with DCC, I have a fair bit of experience as far as consumer technologies are concerned.   

TS: You've worked on a number of different brands. How would you say it has prepared you to handle the product portfolio for Dell? 

HP: It's less to do with the brands and more focused on the requirements of the position. Working with brands like Canon and OKI still necessitates having an understanding with vendors and a knowledge of the various channels. 

These core skills remain the same regardless of what brand you're heading up, therefore the 11 years of distributor business experience I've accumulated until now is what makes me prepared to handle a larger client like Dell. 

TS: How do you believe your experience will benefit the Dell consumer business specifically?

HP: One of the great assets of working as product manager for so many years is the relationships that I've built up with vendors, independent and online retailers, as well as customers. That, coupled with my experience and knowledge in pairing the correct types of devices with the right industry, will certainly assist in helping to grow the brand even further.  

TS: With the Festive Season fast approaching, what are some of your short-term goals for the Dell brand?

HP: When it comes to the Festive Season, partnering with the right channels is paramount. In order to increase Dell's visibility to consumers, we're looking to the likes of Takealot for example. Dell is also a highly valued brand in its own right, which means that DCC needs to ensure the brand gets the correct type of exposure. 

DCC is also keen to be known as the local distributor for Dell. Making our two brands synonymous is definitely something we want to achieve in coming weeks and maintain over the next few years.  

Another goal of ours is to ensure that DCC receives the latest Dell products. This will allow us to get them into the channel more efficiently, especially as local consumers don't want to wait five or six months to purchase a device that's already available in other countries.  

TS: As far as Dell products go, which ones do you believe consumers will be most interested in experiencing?

HP: At the moment, the notebooks on offer from Dell are the most exciting. The Inspiron and XPS ranges in particular should be of interest to local consumers. There's also the Inspiron and XPS desktop devices, which are great products in their own rights. 

Working with a brand like Dell means there are a number of products to distribute, and they have monitors and tablets too, which allows DCC to deliver more complete solutions to our business clients and everyday consumers as well.   

TS: What differentiates Dell consumer products from other similar offerings, in your opinion?

HP: The consumer portfolio is one of three that Dell has, with commercial and enterprise making up the rest. With regards to consumer, it targets small to medium businesses (SMBs), as well as home users. Luckily, Dell has a wide range of products to meet the demands of those different types of customers. 

For the niché notebook user, there's the XPS range. We also have 4K monitors and gaming notebooks for those who want an uncompromised experience while playing. On the SMB side, Dell's desktops and workstations are a great option. Lastly for home users, the All-In-One (AIO) offerings are superb. 

That's what truly differentiates the Dell consumer portfolio. That they have so many options to match a number of consumer needs. 

TS: What differentiates DCC’s approach to the Dell consumer portfolio compared to other distributors or competitors?

HP: DCC tries to tap into all the open market channels when it comes to distributing a brand as large and well known as Dell. Having the full range of Dell offerings on hand also gives DCC an advantage as we're able to offer a product that precisely matches up with a customer need instead of providing them with an ill-equipped device. 

Furthermore, DCC strives to ensure Dell devices are in the local market as quickly as possible, especially as end consumers don't want to be left waiting and guessing when a device will be available locally. 

We also offer extensive after-sales support service to our resellers. Therefore, if the end consumer has an issue and the reseller comes back to us, we can handle it more efficiently. 

TS: Finally, what are some of your long-term goals for the portfolio?

HP: Our long-term goals are much aligned to the short-term ones. That is, to grow the Dell brand and develop an even greater status in the country than it currently has. From a personal level, it's to ensure that our current channels and resellers are well handled by DCC and the quality of service does not decline, but rather improves.

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