IBM to cut number of mobile, desktop SKUs

In a bid to ease the cost and the complexity of product stocking, IBM will reduce the number of individual offerings it has within its Personal Computer channel.

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By  Colin Browne Published  February 27, 2001

IBM will decrease the number of PC SKUs in order to simplify the vendor's product lines.

Frank Vitagliano, vice president of distribution channels management at IBM, said at the PartnerWorld conference held in Atlanta this week that the company plans to cut the number of desktop and mobile PC stocking units by 30% over time as the company introduces new models.

Vitagliano says it is possible to have too broad a portfolio of products. "It's the 80-20 rule—80% of [sales] volume comes 20% of our SKUs," he says. "What the channel needs from us is consistent, reliable supply."

As a result of the change, IBM will continue to provide custom configuration, but configuration time probably will increase to seven to ten days, up from the current four to six days, says Vitagliano. "It's longer, but everybody understands the time frames," he says.

The cutback in SKUs is the latest programme aimed at improving the way IBM sells PCs to its business partners, Vitagliano says. Other programmes include the company's Partner Choice programme introduced last June, which allows business partners to buy products directly from IBM. About 3,000 solution providers have signed up for Partner Choice, of which about 1,500 are new to IBM, says Vitagliano.

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