The February issue of The Cannata Report includes a Virtual Panel featuring members of The Cannata Report’s Advisory Board, who respond to questions about diversification, supply chain problems, and e-commerce. To complement that Virtual Panel, we asked key executives from different segments of the industry to respond to similar questions. This is how they responded to the question, “How can a vendor dealing with supply chain issues best help their dealers/resellers during this challenging time?”
“Hytec has been greatly affected by supply chain issues too. We have experienced delays and shortages in getting some genuine OEM parts, semiconductor chips, and Ametek ESP power protection devices. We’ve also experienced price increases that we haven’t seen in years. In our ongoing commitment to provide quality solutions with on-time delivery to the imaging channel, we have more than doubled our investment in inventory on components, chips, and power protection devices.
“With our OEM partnerships, we also have part escalation programs where we serve as a central point to pull and fill parts orders from decommissioned equipment. We are actively expanding this program with multiple OEMs to help the field with backordered parts and supply chain issues. Hytec has also invested into commercial grade 3D printers to make our own parts. With the supply chain issues we’ve been able to complete repairs without delay and keep our costs down to the imaging channel. This has also helped us support end-of-life products where parts are not available anymore.” Eric Auman, president, Hytec Dealer Services
“The best approach is to communicate often, be transparent and set appropriate expectations. We’ve been working more closely than ever with our dealer partners and their customers during this crisis and providing constant updates. In addition, we are in close contact with our dealers to understand and fulfill urgent and high priority orders. We have also launched a Dealer Marketplace, a new portal that gives dealers the ability to buy and sell products from one another during the supply chain shortage. It also gives them a way to get rid of excess inventory and facilitates a dialogue for them to communicate, so really solves many needs at once.” Laura Blackmer, SVP, dealer sales, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A.
“Brother has not been immune to the supply chain challenges affecting our industry. We’ve prioritized production as much as possible for our family of Workhorse products, which continues to be a focus for us. As a result, we have successfully met demand. Despite supply chain challenges and dynamic shifts in how people work, we continue to see increasing interest in our products and solutions. I believe that is because Brother truly understands how to deliver the most value and a full spectrum of choice for our channel partners, dealers, and ultimately – the end-user.
“Moving forward, we will continue to bring next-generation imaging technology hardware and software solutions to the market to ensure dealers and resellers can provide the solutions and hardware customers need in today’s changing environment.” Bob Burnett, director of B2B solutions deployment and planning, Brother USA
“First and foremost, it is important to have consistent communication with your dealers to provide inventory availability updates and develop strategies with them to secure business during product delay periods.
“At Ricoh, we have been working with our dealers to assist them with cash flow programs, extended lease terms, and other compelling incentives. We are also launching “Dealer Solutions Bundles” shortly to add customer value around print devices. This is in addition to other programs we have in place for generating additional revenue sources with our dealers.” Jim Coriddi, vice president, dealer sales, Ricoh USA
“The supply chain crisis has highlighted the importance of trust and transparency between manufacturers and dealers. From a Kyocera point of view, this situation has brought us even closer to our dealers. We prioritized clear and open communication every step of the way, sharing all information and updates with our partners as soon as possible. We refuse to sugar coat the truth; this is a brand-new challenge, and it is important to show that we are all vulnerable, but we are in this together. It has benefitted us all that we have been able to help our dealers to understand the intricacies of logistics within our industry in the U.S., to demonstrate that this was not merely a manufacturer-specific issue – it was an extremely complex global crisis conditioned by numerous factors. For example, if there are unprecedented bottlenecks at the Port of Los Angeles, there is little a manufacturer can do to accelerate deliveries.
“Dealers across the country have been hit hard by COVID-19 and, to compound things further, the supply chain crisis. A lack of inventory has been a huge blow to liquidity, and this put the onus on us as manufacturers to show greater flexibility regarding payment periods. Rebate programs, in particular, are one way to manage this. That is exactly what we have done at Kyocera because of the huge importance we place on our relationship with our dealer community. We are in this together.” José María Estabañez, vice president, corporate marketing group, Kyocera Document Solutions America
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