Synnex, Tech Data Get Toughbooks For Government VARs


Previously, solution providers had to buy the Toughbook portable computers through GTSI, a Chantilly, Va.-based government VAR. Panasonic added two distributors to give solution providers more buying options and to help partners streamline their buying decisions, said Michelle Chapin, director of the government channel at Panasonic Computer Solutions, Secaucus, N.J.

"GTSI has been a proven distributor for years. Some of our partners sell to federal, state and local government as well as commercial. They have set up accounts with Synnex and are already doing millions [of dollars in business] with us there, but they had to switch to GTSI [for Toughbooks]," Chapin said. "Instead of shifting that to GTSI, now they can continue to buy through Synnex."

The addition of the two distributors should give smaller 8A companies more avenues for procuring product, according to Chapin. The government sector represents the largest market for Toughbooks, she added.

"The federal government has to buy through those [8A] companies. Because they are smaller companies, we want to offer them choices to make sure they touch as many people as they can," Chapin said.

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Synnex and Tech Data are getting ready to sell the Toughbook PCs for the upcoming federal buying season.

"When federal agencies issue an RFP that includes rugged mobile computing solutions, they expect a reseller's proposal to include the Panasonic Toughbook," Barb Miller, director of government and technical services at Tech Data, said in a statement. "By making these products available to our government resellers, Tech Data is enabling our customers to more effectively target the demand for these solutions."

Clearwater, Fla.-based Tech Data plans to ramp up resources in its TechEDG program for government and education resellers around Toughbooks. TechEDG includes letters of supply for more than 45 manufacturers, technical services, special promotions and extended hours during peak buying periods.

Meanwhile, Synnex plans to add resources to push Toughbooks out to the federal marketplace, said Eddie Franklin, associate vice president of government and enterprise sales at the Fremont, Calif.-based distributor.

"This is something we're taking a proactive approach to. These resources will go out and cultivate this business in the federal space," Franklin said. "We already have a substantial federal government focus as it is. It's our biggest vertical overall. [With] that, coupled with some tangible assets such as our own GSA schedule and a warehouse in Chantilly, Va., we've made an effort to put a footprint in the D.C. area. That's a nice dovetail into a bigger, better business for Panasonic in that area."

Panasonic sent RFPs to Ingram Micro, Tech Data and Synnex for the Toughbook business and had no preconceived notion as to whether it would pick one, two or all three of those companies, Chapin said.

"We looked at it as three great partners. We went in with open arms. We understood that a lot of partners wanted flexibility and already wanted do business with them. Synnex offers us tremendous support in the federal space, and Tech Data is a great partner, too," she said.