Books’ new chapter for ECi2
New ECi2 President Ron Books says that his new job will not stop him from maintaining his hands-on approach to management.
Speaking to OPI about his appointment new ECi2 President Ron Books, a fast-talking and passionate sales professional, said that his role has not changed dramatically – he is still keeping his COO role – and his style of being "proactively in touch with customers" will not change.
While at pains not to criticise his predecessor Dan Pritchard, Books admits that there were issues communicating pricing changes to dealers in the past, but firmly believes now that ECi2 has a much more consultative approach than many other players in the marketplace.
"Going forward, I believe what’s going to be stronger is that we team up with our dealers," says Books.
"We have a straightforward vision: ‘what can we do to better serve our industries and make our customers’ businesses stronger’-
"We are not simply developing products," he continues, "we’re developing winning strategies for our dealers and by talking to them and finding out what makes their dealerships more successful, our role is then to apply those solutions to our products."
Books also advised dealers to think twice about cutting back on technology spending despite the economic downturn. "I really believe that dealers who invest in technology nowadays are going to be the ones who survive and flourish in a down economy and when we have the rebound," he states. And with word on the street that Staples doubled its spending on e-commerce systems to $40 million in 2008, Books may well have a point.
"What we have to do is to make sure our dealers recognise that this is what their competitors are doing and technology is not one of the areas where they can try to skimp on. It’s one of the areas where they’re going to win and retain business and that’s how they’re going to survive.
"I’m amazed that companies invest their money in providers that don’t have a punch-out catalogue capability, that can’t expand to other verticals, don’t have a state-of-the-art e-commerce solution or mobile products," he continues.
"It may save them a few dollars in the near term, but it’s going to restrict their operational efficiencies and their ability to win business."
He illustrates his point by referring to government and major corporate business. "These contracts require some of this technology and if dealers don’t have it immediately then they’re out of the bid."
Books also argues that ECi2 is practising what it preaches, pointing out that the company recently made a considerable investment in rolling out saleforce.com across its entire organisation and that it’s increasing its expenditure in this area.
"It’s not just a question of simply spending more," he states. "It’s strategic spending that enables companies to be more efficient and enables them to win more business."
Books has also been quick to bring his own people into to senior management positions.
Mike Gibson has joined as SVP of Worldwide Sales and Trevor Greunewald takes on an SVP role. Books also said that he is looking to bring in an SVP of Operations in the company’s international division.
"We’re strengthening our leadership teams and dealers are going to see a new ECi2 , driven by a tremendous focus on our customers and a single goal to make them stronger."