Macro signs a Sharp deal

Macro signs a Sharp dealFirst franchise since last year’s alliance between Diploma and SEI. Richard Wilson. Macro has signed a franchise agreement with Sharp Electronics which could bring in ?1m worth of displays and semiconductor business this year. It is the first franchise to be signed by Macro since last year’s alliance between its parent company Diploma and SEI and marks the beginning of plans to expand the technical support within Macro. “We’re restructuring the engineering teams,” said Paul Webster, director of marketing for the SEI-MacroGroup. “In particular we want to build on the design links between microprocessors and displays.” “We see the display as a design-in part,”he added. Sharp’s TFT and colour STN liquid crystal displays are important to Macro’s plans to develop its existing display business. But the franchise also includes semiconductor products like ARMmicrocontrollers and memory, as well as power and opto components, throughout the regions of the UKand Ireland. “We are confident that our design expertise and engineering support for DSPs and micros will help pull a significant part of this business through,” said Websters. Webster believes the crossover with existing display franchise Hitachi will be limited to certain monochrome displays. He sees Sharp’s technical strength, particularly in colour TFT’s and STN panels, and the product availability supported by the new links with SEI’s purchasing programme, as being important for Macro’s plans to develop its LCDbusiness. “SEIgives us better contacts back to Sharp,’ said Webster The deal has its roots in the alliance between Diploma and SEI which took place last year. Sharp already has a pan-European distribution agreement with SEI, so for the first time Macro will benefit from the logistics and centralised European purchasing already in place. “It is a natural progression from the SEI/Diploma alliance,” said Webster.
According to Webster, there will also be an increased level of co-operation between Macro and SEI’s 2001 Electronics business, which also has a Sharp franchise. “2001 will retain the Sharp franchise but local inventory will move to Macro,”said Webster. “Most demand creation will be done in Macro.” The business development manager responsible for Sharp at 2001 is also moving across to Macro.

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