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August 1, 1988

SMM FACES UP TO PROBLEMS OF SUCCESS

By CBR Staff Writer

Hewlett-Packard UK reseller SMM Communications Ltd is a company that faces a dilemma: how will it reconcile a hitherto successful company philosophy which is based on its relatively small size, with a rapid rate of growth which has seen it come from nowhere in 1984 to a UKP4.3m operation in 1987? With a team of 36 people SMM can work with a straightforward approach to supplying office systems equipment. The company sells only what it uses, makes its employees use the products, and is resolute in keeping secretaries and switchboards out of its headquarters in Twickenham, Middlesex. Anyone who phones SMM with a query will, it says, be speaking to someone who will at least be familiar with the products in which it deals. The company handles mainly the HP Vectra, anything from the Vectra CPU XT-alike at UKP950 to the 8Mb RS package which it offers for UKP8,472, with one year’s free back-up service. HP Laserjets, and the colour Paintjets are also stocked. SMM also has Toshiba 386 and 286 portables, though 90% of its trade is in Hewlett-Packard products. The directors of SMM, many of whom came from Hewlett-Packard, say that they reached their 1987 turnover figure earlier this month, and expect to reach UKP11m by the end of the year, and staff will increase to 50 people sometime in 1989. SMM believes in ploughing back profits and expanding, and is opening a new office in Manchester by October. In order to preserve the personal touch which they feel has made SMM successful, the management says it intends sectioning the company into departments, though it dislikes the suggestion that it will become fragmented as a result. In the end, the dilution of company ideology should present no friction that increased sales and quality products to sell cannot soothe.

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