With a winter storm expected to pound the Northeast over the next couple days, local solution providers and distributors said they have diligently made plans to help customers -- and themselves -- to avoid potential damage.
For some VARs, the imminent blizzard is the first potential disastrous event since last fall's Hurricane Sandy.
Carl Mazzanti, president of eMazzanti Technologies, Hoboken, N.J., is one of those people. eMazzanti's headquarters was flooded after Sandy, and the company had to scramble to get back on its feet, all the while trying to help customers at the same time.
This time, eMazzanti is ready, Mazzanti said. Hurricane Sandy still plays very much in the psyche of New Yorkers, Mazzanti said. The solution provider has invested in portable solar panels and has backup power for every desk as well as generators in case power fails.
"This time we're super prepared. Our staff knew what to expect. We had a plan. The guys went out and got fuel in their vehicles and filled containers," Mazzanti said. "We're in massively better position than people. It's fresh in their mind. We've spent four months prepping for today."
eMazzanti communicated out to customers that it was offering complementary help on Friday to prepare for the storm if they called beforehand, Mazzanti said. "That way, they won't have to worry about whether they should call or shouldn't call without being billed for it," he said.
As the East Coast batons down the hatches, a number of events have already been canceled. Microsoft, for example, has scrapped plans for a major publicity event in New York City tonight in celebration of Surface Windows 8 Pro edition.
Meanwhile, distributors are gearing up for the weather onslaught, as well.
"First and foremost we want to make sure of the safety of our employees in that specific region," said Pete Peterson, senior vice president of U.S. sales at Tech Data. "We have a logistics center in New Jersey, and we want to make sure that folks are safe. But, we also want to make sure that we are supporting our customers, whether that be through extended hours or by rushing specific products to the region in order to get people back online."
In the past, the Florida-based distributor has responded to emergencies with extended hours and specific hotlines. Such measures may be activated for the forthcoming storm, depending on the circumstances.
"We have already seen an uptick in orders over the course of the last day or two," Peterson said. "We have logistics centers in six different areas of the country, so we are well positioned to respond, even if our New Jersey facility is impacted. We are very much on high alert."
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