Shaken up and stirred: 20:20 under new management

Shaken up and stirred: 20:20 under new management

Meinie Oldersma

Meinie Oldersma, CEO at 20:20 Mobile Group

Under the leadership of new CEO, Meinie Oldersma, 20:20 Mobile Group has shaken itself up and is getting ready to create a stir in the market going forward. The business unveiled a revised corporate structure in August, which is designed to strengthen the group’s corporate centre, increase growth in the UK and internationally, and amalgamate the UK business of 20:20 Logistics, Dextra Solutions and Caudwell Logistics.

20:20 has a great story to tell, says Oldersma. “We are the biggest distributor in the UK market and something of a permanent fixture in the industry. But that doesn’t give us a right to expect to remain so.”

Oldersma’s realistic outlook on the market is what is helping this company stand out. Oldersma says 20:20 needs to respond to the market and show that it understands that distribution is no longer just about shifting boxes quicker and cheaper than your rivals. “It is about working with partners in a more fundamental, strategic way, understanding their business and key drivers, both commercial and customer, and then exceeding their expectations,” he comments.

 

“That is very much the culture we are building here at 20:20,” Oldersma continues. He is determined to keep 20:20 the number one distributor for both handsets and accessories by learning, adapting and responding to its customers needs and demands. By evolving in this way, 20:20 is able to also attract the best partners in the marketplace, feeding the cycle of excellence the business aims to promote.

 
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Distributor Partner for Nokia

Winning Distributor Partner status for Nokia’s services and devices was a fantastic achievement for 20:20, says Oldersma. The business won the deal in July this year, while its Dextra arm won the accessories distribution contract. “We have a long history, as the biggest distributor in the UK market, of working successfully with Nokia and that undoubtedly stood us in good stead,” Oldersma states. “But I am clear that we can never rest on past achievements and our teams worked incredibly hard getting our pitches just right.”

Working to constantly improve the business is a major focus for 20:20, and that drive contributed to its success with Nokia. Oldersma explains: “Our market has matured and consumers are becoming more discerning and sophisticated in their demands and expectations. That clearly influences manufacturers and networks, and in turn the supply chain needs to respond. We think we managed to understand Nokia’s desire for value added distribution partners and clearly articulated how we would meet that challenge.”

He continues: “Our position as market leader doesn’t just measure the scale of what we do. For me, it means taking a position of thought leadership, keeping an eye on the horizon, interpreting change and understanding the direction of consumer trends, in order to remain ahead of the curve. I think we did that successfully with Nokia.”

 

Time for radical change

Yet since Oldersma joined the business six months ago, he has been clear that the company had to have a structure that reflected the needs of its customers and the market climate going forward. Oldersma claims the structure 20:20 inherited over the years had been fine for the past, but he knew it needed reform to make it fit for purpose for the market as it is now, and in the future.

As such, Oldersma has shaken the business up. “Nothing stays the same for ever, and the challenge of leadership is making reforms from a position of strength, after accurately assessing the issues you need to deal with. I’ve been really pleased with the support of colleagues at all levels of the company in helping me achieve this change. 20:20 is a company with a very strong ‘can do’ attitude which makes meeting big challenges far more realistic here than in most other organisations.

“And that goes for our finance too,” Oldersma continues. “We’ve undergone a significant financial restructuring of the business which has freed up new capital to invest in the company and given us a better debt position going forward. We needed to do this to ensure we had the scope to react quickly to embrace new opportunities. By Christmas, we will be a leaner and more effective organisation and better placed than ever to lead the industry, both through the scale of our operations and in the quality of the offer we bring to the table.”

 

Looking further afield

The business is expanding its attention to the international market building on its existing base, to counter the tougher financial times in Britain. Oldersma comments: “20:20 Mobile Group is continuing to win new business and we are strengthening our position and performance on some of our key contracts. These are clearly challenging times in terms of the economic slowdown, but we are still managing to perform well and we’re optimistic about the future. Partly this is because we have a growing portfolio of interests across Europe and further afield, and our strength in depth as a company will help shield us from some of the problems in the UK market.”

20:20 is exploring a number of opportunities to grow the business, particularly through its international entities. “Our restructuring will help us gear up for that with the creation of a new business to lead on strategic overseas initiatives for the group,” says Oldersma. “As well as territorial expansion, we are focused on creating a higher value proposition for the UK market.”

 

Fresh outlook for the UK

Commenting on the UK market, Oldersma states: “The overriding problem at the moment is the state of the economy. While not devastating for our industry so far, it may affect consumer patterns and tastes and we need to be careful in making sure we are paying attention to any changes in the marketplace. That’s clearly a universal lesson for the industry. We also have the continuing development of mobile technology, meaning that will see constant evolution in product lines as cutting edge technologies become mainstreamed.”

Areas that 20:20 will be focusing more on in the UK to ensure that its business continues to follow the ripest value chains are those driven by consumer demand, including GPS, gaming and music. Oldersma comments: “Some of the new business opportunities on our sector are pretty well understood. There is a growing demand for mobile solutions and this trend is only going to continue as we move into an era of utilisation beyond voice applications and sell services on top of phones.”

Talking of selling, today the independent dealer market is a very mature community of specialists in their field, who seek the very best services at the

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most competitive prices, says Oldersma. “They react quickly in switching on to new business and adopting technological change. We are adapting our business model to provide services that are essential to ensure increased profitability for our dealers. Top of the list has to be email, although the navigation market has been identified and is being provided for by both Nokia and RIM, to name but two.”

Summing up on the future for 20:20, Oldersma states: “We’re exploring a number of exciting new challenges for the company, both in the UK market and overseas. It is too early to reveal what we are looking at, but we will keep Mobile Business readers posted!”