Grand plans for local build-to-order PCs

Grand plans for local build-to-order PCs

LOCAL assemblers could operate like mini Dells — building PCs only after they are ordered and delivering them within days, without keeping a warehouse full of stock.

Enabling them to achieve this is the ambition of recently opened distributor Synnex. Melbourne-based managing director Frank Sheu tells Louis van Wyk how the company plans to become the powerhouse behind local system builders.

The first part of Sheu’s strategy is to stock all the components needed to build a complete PC unit.

Intel is a core brand for the company and recently securing distribution of the vendor’s processors and motherboards was essential to Synnex’s strategy here.

Synnex and Intel have a global relationship spanning 30 years, says Sheu.

“The two companies have very similar cultures — our culture was very much influenced by Intel,” he says.

In addition, Synnex recently took on Asus motherboards, graphics cards and optical drives, and stocks Logitech, Western Digital and house brand Lemel.

With these products Synnex is poised to offer great support to local system builders, says Sheu.

“We want to be the driving force to support local assemblers,” says Sheu.

Local assemblers struggle to compete against the build-to-order models of large international vendors like Dell, whose success lies in taking a customer’s order and payment before assembling their PC, which means it does not need to maintain a large inventory of stock, says Sheu.

Local PC makers do not have comparable supply chain systems in place and have not had a wide choice of sources for critical parts, he says.

Synnex’s supply chain system can help system builders emulate the Dell model, says Sheu.

“They can become a Dell in their local centre.”

Replicating in New Zealand the internal systems which have proved successful for the company in Australia and elsewhere will allow it to maintain high levels of stock and to process orders fast, says Sheu.

Synnex promises to have an order ready for dispatch or pickup within an hour of it being placed.

This enables assemblers to be more responsive to customers’ needs and allows them to deliver fully customised build-to-order PCs in a short time frame, says Sheu.

In Australia, where Synnex has a fleet of its own trucks, it delivers goods twice a day. This is the eventual goal for New Zealand, but in the meantime goods are couriered.

Apart from quick turnaround times, Sheu also wants Synnex to set the benchmark for warranty support and repairs.

“We will send a replacement unit out the next day. The industry norm can be excessive — between two and three weeks,” he says.

Streamlining ordering and warranty support will help free up assemblers to focus on their core business, says Sheu.

“We want to help local system builders grow their market share with the best supply chain management and warranty support.”

Synnex will not become distracted by trying to compete head on with larger rivals like Ingram Micro, says Sheu.

“We will focus on our core competencies and supporting resellers,” he says.

“If you are not focused on your customers’ needs, but on your competition, you are in for problems. Customers do not buy from you because you are big, but because you give them value and benefits.”

Sheu says the company continues to grow unabated in Australia, despite the former Tech Pacific’s attempts to give it no room for growth. In New Zealand Synnex employs 12 people at its Auckland base, led by country manager Richard Harri.

Once it has built a base of customers here, it will look at setting up in Wellington and Christchurch in the coming year.

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