D&H Canada recently opened its new Toronto-area headquarters and distribution centre, setting itself up for what the company says will be its Canadian home for the next 10-plus years.
The new location moves D&H from Toronto suburb Brampton to fellow suburb Mississauga, despite the move being less than 12 km as the crow flies. In its 15-plus years in the Canadian market, the distributor has had three locations in Brampton, starting with a 26,000-square-foot first office before quickly ramping up to almost twice that and finally, to 90,000 square feet.
With the new location, the distributor has more than 253,000 square feet available, and company co-president Michael Schwab figures it’s the company’s last move for a while.
“We’re built for growth,” Schwab told attendees of the ribbon-cutting for the new facility, referring to the company’s omnipresent BFG slogan. “That acronym transcends our business.”
Along with room to grow, the new facility presents D&H with the opportunity to update both the technology and processes of its distribution centre, both in terms of the warehouse systems and, for the first time, adding an in-house configuration centre that can address requests for things like software loads, asset tagging and laser etching that customers often seek on their devices. The distributor previously offered these services through a third party, but the company says bringing it in-house will mean faster and more flexible service.
The configuration centre is currently set up and staffed to handle up to 20,000 units a month, and Schwab said the goal is to scale that up to 60,000 units a month. The Canadian configuration centre is borrowing heavily from the experiences of and lessons learned from running a configuration centre at its Harrisburg, Pennsylvania headquarters, but also bringing in some homegrown tricks, as the company is working on a reseller-facing web portal that will allow solutions providers to manage their customers’ devices in the configuration centre closely. The web service will enable resellers to configure orders and track the devices being configured.
“We just didn’t have the room at the old facility, but now we do,” Schwab said.
Daniel Haas, D&H’s director of distribution, said the new facility was well into planning when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020 and that while the impact of the pandemic necessarily slowed the development process, the distributor ultimately decided the investment was needed for the post-pandemic world.
“The fact that we methodically worked through it, to get the approvals and the design done, and then get the construction done is remarkable,” Schwab said.
Haas added that because of the short distance between the former and current locations, D&H has been able to retain all of its distribution centre staff in the move.
The pandemic continued to shape things at the launch — D&H Canada general manager Michelle Biase could not attend due to a recent diagnosis but was in good spirits in delivering a virtual address and chatting with attendees from home. She joked that if any resellers were feeling sympathetic, she was accepting “get-well purchase orders.”
A decade and a half into its presence in the Canadian market, the company still boasts growth of at least 10 percent every year it’s been in-country. Schwab said the company’s eyes are set on making the Canadian division a $1 billion business on its own.
“There have been a lot of distributors, a lot of mergers and consolidation, and I always think about what differentiates us,” Schwab said. “I think it’s a family-oriented mindset, winning as a team, and our ability to embrace and adapt to change.”
The new Mississauga facility joins D&H’s Vancouver-area distribution centre, which opened in September 2022.