Lenovo Channel Exec: ‘Our Backlog Is Diminishing As We Speak’

Lenovo’s Cassie Jeppson told attendees at this week’s XChange August 2022 conference that the company is working to step up communications with partners about supply chain challenges, even as those issues continue to improve.


Lenovo channel executive Cassie Jeppson told attendees at this week’s XChange August 2022 conference that the company’s supply chain backlog is improving with “record shipments” in its data center portfolio in the last quarter.

“Our backlog is diminishing as we speak,” said Jeppson, director of North American channel programs and support operations at Lenovo, in response to a question from the audience about supply levels of its data center portfolio during her keynote session Sunday at the event, which is run by CRN parent The Channel Company. “So again, it’s not perfect, but it’s definitely improving. Our commitment is to make sure that we’re prioritizing the channel and the orders that are coming in.”

[Related: Lenovo Posts Record Sales, Warns Supply Chain Issues To Slow Shipments]

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While Lenovo’s supply chain status is dependent on a number of factors beyond manufacturing, Jeppson said that Lenovo over the last several years has built up some of its manufacturing facilities to improve speed and “serve the demand a little bit better.”

Zac Paulson, CEO of TrueIT, Fargo, N.D., which is on CRN’s MSP 500 list, said he was heartened to hear about the increased supply of Lenovo systems. In fact, Paulson said, that improved supply situation has him looking at adding Lenovo to his product portfolio. “We’ll definitely evaluate Lenovo now because of the supply situation,” he said.

During her presentation, Jeppson told solution providers that Lenovo is also trying to do a better job listening to and communicating about supply issues with partners.

“[The] supply chain has been really challenging over the last few years, and it seems like once we fix one thing, then it just gets more complex with another thing,” Jeppson said. “So we have been asked to be more predictable and to deliver additional communications to our partners so that you know how to communicate effectively with your customers. ... We want to listen to those challenges that you’re having and help you to overcome them.”

Mike Curtis, executive vice president of Lima, Ohio-based solution provider and Lenovo partner Virtual Technologies Group, said supply chain issue are still top of mind for many partners. “The biggest thing there is communication,” Curtis said.

The strong communication with regard to supply dates is particularly crucial for larger orders, said Curtis.

Jeppson also hinted at plans to add new financing partners to help solution providers with cash flow. “We’ve had a lot of conversations with our partners, and we have that short list,” she said.

Curtis said Lenovo’s move to add more financing options would be a major benefit to his business since he’s had to place bigger orders amid supply chain constraints to ensure his customers are well stocked, said Curtis. “We’ve used the same financing program for a long time and took advantage of that option, so I was interested to hear what other programs are out there,” he said.

Throughout the session, Jeppson drew parallels between having a workout “gym buddy” to help keep you motivated while exercising and the advisor role that Lenovo seeks to play in helping its channel partners overcome obstacles such as the increasing complexity of IT workloads, the constant barrage of security threats and the need to develop solutions that help customers work effectively and efficiently amid IT staffing challenges and remote work.

“It’s really important to have that ‘gym buddy’ and that vendor that is having the same conversations with customers and understands not only the business model that you have but also some of the challenges your customers are facing,” she said.

Steven Burke contributed to this story.