In a climate where many Australian resellers are battling for survival each month, networking distributor LAN Systems has reinvented itself to offer a lifeline built around what it calls "whole of service" distribution.
According to Nick Verykios, LAN Systems' chief marketing officer, the distributor has focused on enhancing its core competencies of product distribution, warehouse logistics, inventory management, e-commerce facilities, support, physical delivery, and credit facilitation to help its reseller partners better compete for customer deals.
But, that's only one side of the coin, Verykios claimed last week.
He expects LAN Systems will differentiate itself from rival time and place and value-added distributors by offering: pre-and-post sales consultancy; technical support services; network design and security; market and technology training, and; marketing services that can identify new business opportunities for resellers.
"If you're not considered a brilliant distributor by resellers, who can provide backup support for products, no-one will buy from you," Verykios claimed.
"Many technologies that we offer such as routers and switches from the likes of Cisco, Xylan and 3Com have become commodities in the eyes of our resellers. They are simply products that are essential when it comes to building a customer's network.
"But LAN Systems is positioning itself so that resellers can approach us for everything from network testing and design support, marketing assistance, financial support and solution sourcing," Verykios said.
The distributor's "whole of service" model is broken into a number of domains from product sourcing to knowledge driven services such as pre-and-post sales support and conventional distribution processes including inventory management and product delivery.
"It's crucial that we always revisit the market to pick the best technologies for our integrators," Verykios said.
"They may only want to provide Cisco-based solutions but there are integrators that need to offer customers a multivendor network.
"This means that product portfolio can change at any time, irrespective of the demands of our vendors. They have to earn the right to be on our list."
In fact, Verykios recalled two technologies -- IPTV and TigerSwitch -- which were once distributed by LAN Systems and have since been acquired by Cisco and SMC Networks.
LAN Systems has also received an overwhelming response from resellers and integrators to its Hot Stage Logistics (HSL) service which can facilitate pre-installation testing and can configure networking equipment on behalf of its partners.
"We originally thought HSL would be a hit with small resellers but we have since been inundated by calls from at least 12 high-end integrators and resellers requesting the use of our labs and facilities," Verykios declared.
"Most large integrators are determined to save costs these days so if we can provide a service to our partners which they can use for nothing, these organisations can save huge amounts of money for themselves and for their customers."
But, despite claims that this new distribution model is turning LAN Systems into a Com Tech and is alienating consultants, Verykios said its resellers compete directly with consultants.
"Back-end services such as network design and security design, for example, are a black art for resellers so we are merely helping them to compete for business they normally would not have a hope of winning."
And it seems this new distribution approach has been a hit with LAN Systems' partners. Verykios pointed to a 250 per cent growth rate for its first quarter following on from a 500 per cent growth explosion last year.