Global InSync Gets Image Overhaul


Global InSync Gets Image Overhaul

By Nick Wakeman
Staff Writer

If Richard Nixon can rehabilitate his image, why not a small computer company that started in retail, shifted to federal contracting and along the way earned a reputation as a two-timing partner?

That was the task facing David Boim, president of Global InSync, Springfield, Va., and Erich Ohngemach, vice president of sales, when they were tapped in April to turn around the company.

With the new leadership, the company is refocusing its efforts as a manufacturer of PCs and workstations. Ninety percent of the company's sales are to the federal government.

"The company didn't have a defined customer approach," Ohngemach said. "We would sell to anybody." While the company was trying to work with value-added resellers, its sell-to-anybody approach was turning off VARs. "VARs rely on loyal partners," Ohngemach said. "We had no channel integrity."

Since then, company officials have taken steps to redefine the company. And so far Global InSync's largest customer has not been a smaller VAR or integrator, but Lockheed Martin Corp., the behemoth of the information technology industry.

Nick Wakeman photo

Erich Ohngemach, Global InSync vice president of sales

Early this year, Global InSync began supplying PCs to Lockheed Martin as part of a contract the Bethesda, Md.-based company has with the U.S. Army to modernize base information services. Global InSync joined Lockheed Martin's team in February. The contract, known as Sustaining Base Information Services, was awarded in 1993 and could be worth $5 billion to the Lockheed team over 10 years, according to the market research firm Input.

Robert Pond, senior marketing representative for Lockheed Martin on the project, said the company will probably buy 10,000 PCs from Global InSync. "They are my best-kept secret," he said.

Founded as Accel by Ali Jani and Bijal Mehta, the company initially focused on manufacturing and selling PCs in the retail computer market until they sold it in 1994. ManTech International Inc., Fairfax, Va., purchased the company and created ManTech Solutions as the hardware arm for ManTech's services business, Ohngemach said. But ManTech sold the company to Global Intellicom Inc., New York, in September 1996.

Despite early management changes by Global Intellicom, things still were not clicking, Ohngemach said. Losses approached $300,000 in the first quarter of 1997, and that's when Ohngemach and Boim were brought in, Ohngemach said. They had been working together at Globelle Inc., Herndon, Va.

In the second quarter, losses dipped to about $100,000. But the company expects to break even in the third quarter and finish the year with revenues in the $35 million to $40 million range. In 1996, the company's revenues stood at $29 million, he said.

To get to the break-even point, Ohngemach said, "we've had to redefine the company." In addition to ending direct sales, the company has instituted build-to-order capabilities for PCs and workstations and launched a private label program where Global InSync will put a VAR's brand name on the computer. The company also has been a distributor of servers from Data General Inc., Westborough, Mass., since May.

"We are still fighting our legacy," Ohngemach said. "You can't expect to just flip a switch. We have to prove ourselves."

Global InSync also is concentrating on VARs with sales of $3 million to $60 million. Ohngemach estimates that there are 19,000 companies in this category, 4,000 of which are in the greater Washington area.

Many of these companies are primarily professional services firms but want a manufacturing capability. "That is what we offer them," he said.

Through the private label program, these smaller companies can sell a PC or workstation with their name on it. "They can give their customers the professional services, the hardware and the training," Ohngemach said. "They can get their arms all the way around their customers."

Lockheed's Pond praised the quality of Global InSync's products. "We have gone through some painstaking evaluations" with various Department of Defense agencies, Pond said. "We've passed every one."

Pond said he has been especially pleased with Global InSync's build-to-order model for its PCs because it starts with a "bare bones box" and the customer's specifications are built into it.

"Whatever my customer needs, I can do that," he said.

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