January 30, 2013

Global Converge Leaders in EMEA: Meet Bobby Ireland

In this blog, we continue our ongoing series introducing you to the key Converge global business leaders.

Meet Bobby Ireland, Director of Global Business Trade Operations

Q: Tell us a little about your responsibilities at Converge and how long you have worked here.

A: I have been with Converge for about ten years. I am responsible for the overall coordination of global strategic accounts, business operational reporting, programs and processes as well as a number of corporate and regional support areas such as Global Account Management. As a former EMS guy I am able to bring a lot of structure into what I do for Converge, ensuring we can track, report and take advantage of key impact areas.

Q: What region do you primarily serve?

A: I am based in the United Kingdom, so my main role is within EMEA, but I am also responsible for a majority of corporate and global activities with global accounts and my colleagues in Peabody, Massachusetts.

Q: Tell us a little more about your background and what career path led you to Converge.

A: After graduating from the University of Abertay in Dundee, I immediately went to work for Solectron, which at the time was the world’s largest EMS. They just happened to have a huge site in my home town of Dunfermline, Scotland. During the six years I worked at Solectron, I did some work with Converge for the materials group. A few months later I joined the organization.

Q: What services does Converge offer in your region?

A: Since Converge is a global company, we have all of the same service offerings in EMEA as we do in the Americas and APAC. So anywhere the customer is located, we can provide shortage, excess, and obsolete inventory solutions, all backed with an industry-leading quality assurance program.

Q: Do you focus more on any specific services or technologies?

A: My focus is in three main areas. First, I coordinate and help manage the corporate relationships for global strategic accounts in the region. My involvement depends upon the level of business and their footprint. For these customers, I support contract discussions, attend quarterly business reviews and manage and monitor performance and trends.

The second area of focus within the same strategic business is global responsibility for several accounts — I serve as the main contact to our parent company for their global business.

The third area is business operations reporting and tracking, which we use extensively in EMEA and globally to manage our overall business. This area includes metrics reporting, commodity focus, vertical tracking, regional trends and penetration, etc.

Q: How does the EMEA market differ (if at all) from the Americas?

A: I see Europe as much more of a melting pot, with many differing cultures, languages and areas that need to be considered.

Take, for example, the Israeli and German markets. Converge needs to have offices in these regions to fully serve these markets. And within these offices we need the right people with the right skill sets and relationships who have the ability to help us develop the market.

Europe also has very defined markets — the United Kingdom has a very small to medium-sized business centered mainly around high-margin verticals such as Medical, Military and Automotive.

Central Europe (now moving into Ukraine/Russia) is considered to be the lower-cost region, holding most of the medium to high volume in Europe.

Germany and the Nordic countries have a large base in Computers, Telecommunications and Embedded accounts. These points, factored with the cultural and language diversity, make the EMEA market challenging.

Q: Is there anything you would like to share or brag about that readers might not know?

A: I would like to reiterate Johan Dahl’s comments from his recent blog interview: Our quality assurance program is what differentiates us most from the competition. We have made, and plan to make, further investments into our integrated systems and quality-testing equipment. And our dedication to continual improvement won’t stop there, as we strive for higher levels of certifications to capture a larger base of high-reliability customers.

Our customers can see for themselves that, in comparison to the rest of the market, Converge can back up their quality standards, while others only talk about it.…..

Q: How can readers learn more about Converge services in EMEA?

A: We have a great footprint in EMEA, with plans to expand further. Our goal is to service the primary markets in EMEA, with Converge regional offices or personnel close to the physical locations of our customers.

I would encourage any customers to discuss any aspect of the market with us, to gain a better understanding of what we can do to support them.

The “broker” market is not what it once was — we are now a long-standing independent distributor and strategic partner to our customers.

Q: Anything else you would like to share? Tell us about your family, favorite hobbies, etc.

A: I am married. I met my wife, Jennifer, during my time at Solectron and we have our young son, who keeps us more than busy. The less said about my local and national football teams the better, although my colleagues in Peabody, Massachusetts, might just convert me to be a New England Patriots and Boston Bruins fan if things keep going as they are.

Thanks, Bobby!

If you would like to talk to Bobby about how Converge can help your company (or would like to discuss hockey and football), you can contact him at bobby.ireland@converge.com.

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