In the face of concerns expressed about direct vendor sales models, Acer Computer Australia managing director Patrick Lin last week spelt out the company's selling strategy, and for some resellers, a rethink could be in the wind.
As part of its Industry Alliance program, Acer, like the other major PC vendors, is seeking to form partnerships with system integrators and achieve preferred-supplier status with government departments and large corporates. According to Lin, the big hardware contracts are not likely to be made with its established resellers. But, he said that winning the big direct business creates the mass behind which Acer resellers can ride.
In a written statement obtained by ARN, Lin said: "Acer Computer Australia's fundamental operating policy is based around a leveraged channel model and to bid directly for a major account is not, and has never been, a preferred corporate practise.
"However, like all vendors in a highly competitive environment, we are presented from time to time with sales opportunities where the only viable option is to participate through direct bidding . . . When this occurs, an assessment is made on whether Acer can win the business hand-in-hand with one of our channel partners.
"If the answer is no, then a decision is made for Acer to bid directly so as not to lose a big business opportunity that will later provide a positive flow-on effect to the channel."
Acer is already in the process of rationalising its 150-strong direct reseller channel (see ARN February 24, page 4) and, according to Lin, it is just not possible for the vendor to satisfactorily support its channel partners under the present arrangement.
While the plan is to reduce the number of resellers dealing directly with Acer by at least half, Lin stressed that the intention is to improve the service it provides to resellers, and consolidate its channel structure.
"We guarantee our channel partners will receive better service and support, and we will monitor the process," he said.
Lin also ruled out any current plans to introduce an online direct-selling model.