Marshal Resources To Aid Partners, Customers
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Distributors quickly mobilized extra resources and services last week to assist solution providers and customers affected by the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
On Tuesday, the day of the attacks, distributors held emergency management meetings to determine courses of action to help get solution providers' and customers' businesses operable again. Assistance included extended warehouse hours, increased credit lines, office space and human resources.
'We just obviously express our grave concern and condolences for anyone affected. It has been a traumatizing experience.' -- Steve Raymund, Tech Data Chairman, CEO
"We can't get close to the area that was devastated. If we could go down there and move rocks, we would do that," said Anthony Daley, general manager at Westcon Inc., a subsidiary of Westcon Group, Tarrytown, N.Y.
Westcon contacted the New York City Mayor's Office last week to offer technology assistance to any agency or company that needed it, Daley said. For example, the distributor partnered with PictureTel to offer videoconferencing equipment and office space at several locations for victims' families, medical professionals or anyone else needing to communicate during the crisis. Westcon also solicited solution provider help in case a customer needed another solution provider's skills. Daley said he was overwhelmed by the response.
"The strikes are only part of the [terrorists'] plan. The next is to disrupt American business," he said. "We all want to do our little part and march forward and not allow that plan to come to fruition."
Tech Data extended credit lines for solution providers working to get military and government agencies back online. It also hired specialized picking teams to fill orders more quickly, negotiated faster pickup times with ground-freight carriers and extended hours for will-call pickups at all distribution centers, said Chairman and CEO Steve Raymund.
DISTRIBUTORS OFFER ASSISTANCE
• Daisytek offers free communication and transportation services for New York- and Washington-based companies.
• Tech Data extends credit lines for solution providers that are working to get military and government agencies back online.
• Ingram Micro extends the hours of its distribution centers and increases credit lines.
"We just obviously express our grave concern and condolences for anyone affected. It has been such a traumatizing experience," Raymund said.
Tech Data offered support to help keep Future Computing Solutions' government and military customers at full strength, said Bicky Singh, president and CEO of the Yorba Linda, Calif., solution provider.
"In a tragedy like this, we all have to unite. That was very nice of [Tech Data] to offer," Singh said, adding that Future Computing Solutions did "absolutely no business" on Tuesday.
Ingram Micro also pitched in to help partners by extending the hours of its distribution centers and increasing its credit, leasing and technical support services, a company spokeswoman said. The distributor had its own close call: Eight employees took part in a storage education session on the 78th floor of the World Trade Center's north tower, but all safely escaped.
Daisytek International offered free communication and transportation services for New York- and Washington-based companies cut off from their customers, said Jim Powell, president and CEO. The Allen, Texas, distributor also offered to take over key functions for solution providers separated from customers, offices or inventory as well as replicate the back-office infrastructure for solution providers impacted by the attacks.
"Our sole concern is to help our partners return to normal operations as quickly as possible," Powell said in a statement.
Synnex Information Technologies made all of the inventory information on its Web site available to any visitor, not just authorized solution providers.
'I still feel very heavy. We are hoping (President) Bush will take proper actions and help the families to go through this tough time. . .but it's very sad, and I'm very shocked.' --Bob Huang, Synnex Chairman, CEO
"I still feel very heavy," said Bob Huang, chairman and CEO of Synnex, Fremont, Calif. "We are hoping [President] Bush will take proper actions and help the families to go through this tough time and that the economy will come back before long. But it's very sad, and I'm very shocked, like anybody else."
Distributors, however, have been hampered in shipping products long distances. The Federal Aviation Administration's freeze on all commercial flights forced distributors to hire national and local ground-freight trucking companies to deliver orders.
Still, Ingram Micro fulfilled solution provider orders without significant delays, a spokesperson said. Tech Data also didn't experience significant delays, but the distributor sent a letter to solution providers to warn them of the possibility, said Raymund.
"Some orders that shipped [Tuesday] may have been held up due to the halt in air transportation or if they were sent to unreachable destinations," Tim Curran, senior vice president of sales at Tech Data, said in the letter. "Every effort will be made to work with our carriers and sales teams to arrange timely alternative shipping services and to keep all customers apprised of the status of such orders."
In addition, vendors alerted distributors that inbound shipments may be slowed, said Dan Schwab, vice president of marketing at D&H Distributing, Harrisburg, Pa.