TNS Connect Australia, the new distributor for Lowepro, Tamron and other brands following the closure of Maxwell International, has responded to PhotoCounter’s request for more detail on the change with the following statement issued over the signatures of Malcolm Pirie, general manager, Maxwell International and Kieran Adams, sales director, Asia Pacific, TNS Connect:
This message comes to you from both parties involved to comfort and reassure you that going forward we both expect that the hard work and reliable relationship that was Maxwell International will continue with TNS Connect.
The transition is progressing smoothly and both teams are working tirelessly behind the scenes to meet the May 2 changeover deadline agreed by both parties. In essence we want to make the transition of the day-to-day dealing with the brands involved as
seamless as possible. There will be some key sales personnel transitioning over to TNS Connect, the details of these personnel will be confirmed in the coming days.
Operationally Maxwell continues to trade as usual until the end of April with representatives on the road visiting customers and all administrative staff still working and willing to assist as normal. The last day for purchasing stock via Maxwell International will be April 28. All online transactions will also cease at this time while we transition our products across to the new TNS Connect website ordering portal.
We are pleased to confirm that the following brands have formally agreed to transition across to TNS Connect from May 2:
As for the structure moving forward, TNS Connect will have a dedicated ‘Photo Specialty’ Team consisting of former Maxwell staff purely focussed on servicing the needs of the photographic channel and maintaining the level of service they have come to expect. We consider it a privilege to be chosen as the distribution partner for the world-class brands listed above and we intend to build on the fantastic platform the Maxwell team have built locally with an experienced team dedicated to the continued success and growth of the category.
In the interest of a smooth transition, TNS Connect will be adopting all of Maxwell International’s product codes, wholesale and retail pricing structures and are loading these into their system already to ensure a smooth ordering process from May 2.
TNS Connect will also continue to use FDM Sydney for warehousing and freight distribution.
TNS Connect will contact all Maxwell International customers with a step-by-step ordering process and to advise new account information and the contact details for your local representative as soon as possible.
We would like to ensure that this transition is as seamless as possible and we plan to
make as few changes to current trading conditions as possible.
The current Maxwell customer service portal available via their online site will be replicated on theTNS Connect site as part of the transition with some minor functionality changes in May.
TNS Connect has also agreed to retain the services of Hartland Camera Repairs in Perth as the authorised centre for all Tamron lenses. It is expected that this agreement will only strengthen in the coming weeks with discussions already underway for a new customer service portal that enables faster processing of repairs for both resellers and end users, thus improving the overall customer experience.
TNS Connect will announce further details of the transition prior to the end of April as we begin this exciting new journey.
– Malcolm Pirie, Maxwell International – Kieran Adams, TNS Connect
Kieran Adams from TNS Connect was kind enough to contribute responses to some follow-up questions from PhotoCounter:
How many of the former Maxwell staff are moving over?
At this stage we are still in final negotiations with the Maxwell staff, but you must understand that there is obviously some double up of resources across the 2 businesses. TNS Distribution (T/As TNS Connect) is a global distributor for many of the world’s most recognised brands including GoPro (Europe) Huawei, Native Union, Sengled & Energizer.
We are well established in the Australian market with an experienced sales team and over 40 years combined experience across sales/marketing and distribution. So as you can imagine it was necessary to assess exactly what resources we currently have and how these could be deployed effectively across the entire business and still make sure we maintained the service levels for Photo Specialty. The only way to do this right, was to create a new team dedicated to maintaining the great business that was Maxwell. In saying this, the 18 staff at Maxwell International comprised of administrative staff, service, finance and of course sales staff across Australia. TNS Connect already have capable finance staff, marketing staff, service and administration staff, so the plan was to bring across the Maxwell sales team into the newly formed team to ensure continuity of service levels, supply and customer engagement.
Specialised service (Tamron) will be upgraded via a new agreement with Hartlands in Perth whereby we will be streamlining the process to make it faster and easier for resellers and end users to get their products serviced and/or replaced.
Will there be more people taken on to form your new Photo Specialty Team?
As the need arises, we will add more resources. We take this new venture seriously and will deploy current internal resources to assist from the beginning.
Will Malcolm Pirie continue to lead the group?
No. Malcolm has decided to pursue other opportunities and we wish him all the best. He has been an integral part of the success of Maxwell and has been assisting us closely with the transition to make sure it goes smoothly.
You refer to with ‘some minor functionality changes ‘in relation to the customer service portal – could you elaborate?
This will purely be look and feel as the current Maxwell platform is different to ours, but if anything it will be faster once we get through initial testing etc.
Is this TNS Connect’s first venture into a full sales/marketing/supply chain agency or do you have other sales/marketing teams out to retail customers?
No. As I mentioned we already have a sales team servicing mainstream CE, FMCG, Carrier telco, Online and credit card rewards. We have 7 warehouses in operation across the entire JAPAC region and 10 globally. We are part of the PCH group – Our new website is still in its early days but it has links to more information: http://www.tnsconnect.com.au