22 Jul 2024


Drives scheme boosts ABB`s UK share to 20%

Drives scheme boosts ABB`s UK share to 20%

ABB Automation expects to boost its share of the UK drives market from 18% last year to 20% in 2001, pulling it further ahead of its nearest rival which was already eight points behind. The company is attributing this growth largely to last year`s radical restructuring of its distributor network when 27 traditional distributors were replaced by seven regional drives “partners” dedicated to selling and supporting ABB drives.

ABB forecasts that a similar scheme introduced in its motor business last September will raise its share of the UK low-voltage AC motor market from 12% to 15%.

Members of the two networks distribute and support only ABB motors or drives. “Traditional distributors may stock several diverse product ranges and are unable to give as much focus on supporting a single product range,” says James Haigh, ABB Automation`s general manager for channel partners. “Our partners are, in effect, extensions of ourselves – while each is independent, we expect all to operate to the same high standards as ABB.”

Since ABB formed the Drives Alliance a year ago, it and its partners have spent around £5m developing the new infrastructure. The money has been used to improve premises and facilities, to integrate the partners into ABB`s Web-based stock ordering system, to train personnel, and to boost drives stock levels to more than £1m.

Sales by the partners have grown by more than 30% since the scheme began. For example, sales of quipment by Central Electrical, ABB`s partner for North-West England, topped the £2m mark last year. More than £750,000 has been spent expanding and improving the company`s Liverpool premises.

ABB expects the new partnerships to account for at least 60% of new drives business and 40% of new motors business this year.

Ian Rennie, director for automation products in ABB Automation, sees the UK distribution schemes as forerunners of ABB`s new customer-based global organisation. “Putting the customer at the centre is the key differentiator,” he says.

• Mid-Kent Electrical Engineering has been appointed ABB`s new Drives Alliance partner for South-East England. This follows the closure of the drives activities of its former partner, Power Products UK (previously Arcontrol Power Products) after the proprietor`s retirement. Several of Power Products` drives experts have joined Mid-Kent.