Creating a More Level Playing Field

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Outsourced business services help create a more level playing field for resellers – irrespective of the size of their operations, according to distributor Nimans.

Last year the distributor set-up a dedicated On-Site Services division which provides third party installation, maintenance and project management expertise. Demand has risen sharply in the last six months as continued economic pressure forces resellers to look at more innovative ways to maintain revenue streams.

Richard Carter, Nimans’ Sales and Business Development Director, says maintenance is becoming particularly prominent. “A lot of contracts are coming up for renewal and many resellers don’t want the financial commitment of investing in lots of stock to fulfil manufacturer accreditation criteria.”

He continued: “We are getting a lot of quick reaction deals, involving moves and changes which can often be resolved remotely – reconfig and adding new users and extensions for example. From a reseller’s point of view, they don’t always have the functionality and skill sets to perform this.

“Due to economic pressures, there’s no doubt that some resellers are having to scale back and cut their cloth accordingly. They are starting to understand they can manage peaks and troughs far more effectively by outsourcing. I think a lot are benefiting from this.”

Richard highlighted: “We’ve recently had some really good bids put in, one involving the installation of a 600 extension system which under normal circumstances would have been out of reach of the reseller’s capabilities. You are talking about 25-30 man days. That’s a lot of resource and a lot of pressure as the end user wants a quick turnaround.

“The beauty of outsourcing is that it enables a smaller reseller to go after bigger chunks of business – and gather more profits. This type of service creates a more level playing field. Equally important is that the bigger reseller can pick up smaller levels of business that in the past they just wouldn’t have bothered touching. Perhaps due to geographical limitations.”

Richard added: “We’ve had particular success with one reseller that has won a series of contracts in the retail sector – conducting all the site surveys on their behalf.”

Annual trends and holiday periods are also influential factors, according to Richard. “Holiday cover is vital. Businesses need to react to drops in manpower. Spend for the year is also starting to kick-in.”

As well as benefiting resellers, third party support also helps Nimans sell more equipment. Richard concluded: “Resellers know they can buy equipment from us and know with confidence that it will be fitted. It’s a sales catalyst and a value add service.

“It’s part of our ethos to be a one stop shop, single source supplier. At Nimans we can sell you a product, help you quote for it, win the business, install, maintain it and also finance it. It’s an holistic approach which is proving very popular. The message is getting through loud and clear that these services are available, not based on volume or lengthy contracts but when required.”