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5 Ways Distribution Is Helping The IT Industry Navigate The Coronavirus Pandemic

Frank Vitagliano, CEO of the Global Technology Distribution Council, says in times of trouble distribution is the ‘gear box for the industry that keeps the global supply chain flowing.’

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Distribution Rises To The Challenge During A Crisis

Frank Vitagliano, CEO of the Global Technology Distribution Council, the industry trade association for IT distributors, said in his 30-plus years in the IT industry distribution has always responded in a time of calamity.

“I have worked with distributors as both a channel chief and solution provider CEO for more than 30 years and they never let me down,” he said. “They were always there for me. The supply chain proficiency, financial strength, support services and the ability to nurture lifelong partnerships were key to surviving crises like the 9/11 terrorist attack, the dot-com bubble and the 2008 financial crises.”

Vitagliano, who posted a blog titled “How Distributors Lead In A Time Of Crisis,” said far too often the core competencies of distribution like supply chain, global logistics, inventory management, channel financing, transactional support, volume operational excellence and pure pick, pack and ship prowess get overlooked.

“It’s only in bad times sometimes that you realize how important something is” he said. "In times of crisis you step back and realize how important they are. What distributors are doing day in and day out is keeping the businesses flowing. They are helping vendors and solution providers survive in a time like this. We have to make sure those core competencies are understood and not taken for granted. Distribution keeps the industry moving in normal times, but their leadership and core competencies are really critical in a time of crisis.”

Vitagliano, who was inducted into the IT Industry Hall of Fame in 2017, said distribution’s ability to come through for vendors and solution providers has created life-long partnerships that can withstand tough times. “Those types of relationships endure, and they endure over time,” he said. “That is what really matters especially during times like these.”

Top distribution executives Tech Data CEO Rich Hume, D&H Co-President Dan Schwab and Synnex President of Worldwide Distribution Michael Urban all recently spoke with CRN about how distributors have stepped up to help the industry get through the coronoavirus crisis.

Those executives told CRN that distribution has taken center stage in the battle to help the channel keep companies connected even as employees work at home.

“If we didn’t have the ability to have our logistics centers enabled, the entire distribution network, not just Tech Data, wouldn’t be meeting that need and I think it would be harder for companies to shift their work to remote,” Hume told CRN. “I think we’re playing a vital role right now.”

Schwab, for his part, told CRN that his company’s mission is nothing short of keeping the economy and country going during the crisis. “Right now, demand is outstripping supply, so we’re doing everything possible to increase the supply and then get the products to the partners to help them meet their end-user needs,” Schwab told CRN.

Urban told CRN that Synnex is pivoting to meet the needs of partners and vendors, offering “virtual trade shows, live streaming, and other technologies to keep business moving.”

Here are five ways Vitagliano sees distributors helping partners get through the coronavirus crisis.

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