The implementation of a new Acer warehouse management system has led to longer than expected delays for its channel partners.
The vendor, which prides itself on quick turnaround times, had expected the new system to be fully operational a week after installation began on April 27.
However, teething troubles saw this date pushed back to May 21 and led to significant delivery delays across the country.
“We implemented a warehouse management system because our growth has been very high,” Acer Australia’s marketing director, Raymond Vardanega, said. “It was forward planning designed to make our warehouse dispatch operations far more efficient.
“But with any new IT system you have teething problems and we didn’t work through them as quickly as we would have liked. The main problem was integrating enterprise resource planning [ERP] and the warehouse management system to make sure we had accurate data.”
Hitech Distribution marketing manager, David Hein, said it was acceptable that Acer had experienced difficulties but was critical of the vendor’s line of communications.
“It is unfortunate that it took a week or more for official communication [of the difficulties being experienced] to come through from Acer,” he said. “Something earlier in the piece would have helped the stress levels. Sometimes there can be problems during implementation — the key thing is keeping close contact with your customers.”
Hein said orders had been delivered up to 10 days later than the original estimated time of arrival.
“The updates we received were getting revised again and again,” he said. “We would receive information saying the goods would arrive in a day or two; then it would be another day or two. You get to a point where the reseller doesn’t believe you anymore and their customer doesn’t believe them.
“The hardest part is where orders have been mission critical because a reseller is so far into a project. It is hard for them to cancel and go elsewhere so they have to grin and bare it — there has been more baring than grinning.”
Some resellers had cancelled outstanding orders and decided to shop elsewhere, according to marketing manager for Bluechip Infotech, Bashar Zeitoun. Notebooks had been a particular problem for the Sydney-based distributor.
“Resellers are not happy as you would expect but we have been open with our customers and most of them have been OK,” Zeitoun said.
“You are always going to get some desperate resellers jumping up and down for stock. While some have been willing to wait for back orders, others have been going elsewhere.”
Despite the problems, Zeitoun said he understood the new system was being introduced to improve future delivery times. While he was still seeing some delays at the time of going to press, he estimated the system was back to something like 90 per cent capacity.
“It’s been an extremely frustrating time and there’s no hiding from any of it,” Acer’s Vardanega said. “The implementation hasn’t been as good as it could or should have been.
“We appreciate the understanding of our channel partners. The best we can do is implement as quickly as possible with the highest level of accuracy that these people expect. In the end, we will have a far more efficient and scalable system.”