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Lenovo To Launch 'Partner Stimulus Package' To Aid Solution Provider Cash Flows

The PC maker will enable more predictable earnings for partners, and will pay partners on a monthly basis instead of every 90 days, executives tell CRN.

Lenovo is about to launch what it's calling a "partner stimulus package" to help shore up cash flows at solution providers in a highly uncertain economic environment.

The PC maker's stimulus package launches April 1, and aims to enable more predictable earnings for partners as well as faster payouts and extended financing terms, executives at Lenovo's Intelligent Devices Group in North America told CRN.

[Related: Lenovo CEO Yuanqing Yang: We Are ‘Prioritizing’ Customers On Coronavirus Front Line]

Amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and resulting upheaval in the economy, Lenovo's partner stimulus package is intended to "support our partner community during this unprecedented time," said Matthew Zielinski, president of Lenovo’s North America Intelligent Devices Group.

"You're hearing a lot about cash flow liquidity and things like that as we go through all these hiccups. We're really trying to do everything that we can to help the cash situation throughout our entire partner ecosystem," Zielinski told CRN.

One key change with the partner stimulus package is that Lenovo will be removing all of its target-based programs, so that partners will not be required to hit a certain threshold to earn back-end rebates. "We're going to offer a more predictable, flat-rate incentive program that the partners will earn from dollar one," said Rob Cato, vice president of North America channels in Lenovo's Intelligent Devices Group.

In addition, Lenovo says it will provide these earnings to partners every 30 days, instead of every 90 days as in the past.

In terms of financing, Lenovo and finance partner DLL will offer a 30-day extension for qualified partners through the Lenovo Partner Financing Program, which the company says should further free up cash for partners. Lenovo has launched two sites for the stimulus package, for U.S. and for Canadian partners.

Michael Goldstein, president and CEO of LAN Infotech, a Lenovo partner in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said the stimulus program from Lenovo is "great news" for partners.

"Anything our vendor community can do to help us is much appreciated," Goldstein said. "We are living by the motto that good relationships will remember the good deeds during these tough times."

Larry Fulop, vice president of technology solutions at Tempe, Ariz.-based MicroAge, echoed the sentiments—telling CRN that "anything our supplier partners do to help VARs through this time is positive and we appreciate it."

In particular, "being paid monthly is appreciated and will help us continue our cash flow," Fulop said.

Microsoft and Intel are both helping to sponsor Lenovo's partner stimulus package, Cato said. Their contributions are also supporting the continuation of a sales incentive program for partner sellers, Zielinski noted.

Along with the partner enhancements in the stimulus package, Lenovo is debuting work-from-home bundles that are available for resale, as part of helping solution providers to meet the surging demand for remote work deployments. One of the bundles, for instance, combines an ultra-compact ThinkCentre M90n Nano desktop PC with a ThinkVision T23d Monitor.

Meanwhile, within the next 30 days, Lenovo is planning to announce a new Device-as-a-Service solution aimed at work-from-home that combines PCs, Premier Support and Absolute endpoint security software, the company told CRN.

Lenovo has seen a "surge of demand" for PCs even as its production, which is mostly located in China, has been hampered by the coronavirus outbreak since January, Zielinski said.

Supply has been constrained, but "I'm happy to say that we've seen significant improvements in our factory outputs," Zielinski said. "In March, I think we've seen better-than-expected improvement as things have started to come back online in China."

Lenovo has been prioritizing devices for medical providers as well as for K-12 education and higher-education systems, which have many students now doing distance-learning at home.

The company reports it has donated $8.6 million worth of equipment and cash donations to schools, hospitals and community partners globally, including a $2 million contribution from Lenovo North America.

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