Aptec woos resellers with online services

IT distributor Aptec is vowing to prove that there is a place in the Middle East channel for online services after launching two new electronically-automated tools for resellers. Aptec believes the move will make it easier for customers across the region to conduct business with the company as well as improve the efficiency of its own internal operations.

  • E-Mail
By  Andrew Seymour Published  December 11, 2006

IT distributor Aptec is vowing to prove that there is a place in the Middle East channel for online services after launching two new electronically-automated tools for resellers. Aptec believes the move will make it easier for customers across the region to conduct business with the company as well as improve the efficiency of its own internal operations. The new tools — one that completely automates the Return Merchandise Authorisation (RMA) process and the other which permits customers to view a fully updated online statement of account — are designed to make it simpler for resellers to obtain information on a real-time basis. According to Aptec, the online RMA system will allow resellers to track the status of returned product on an ongoing basis, rather than having to chase sales or logistics personnel to source the information. The distributor’s system validates each request with the serial number of the item, generates an e-mail to say that it has been received, and gives resellers the opportunity to monitor its progress through each stage of the system. “We realised that customers were sometimes unaware of when they were going to get the replacement or where the item was,” admitted Biju Alex, IT manager at Aptec. “With this system, the resellers will be able to go back to their customers and say which date they can replace a laptop, for example. The reseller can log into the site at any point in time and see the status of the items. It is a fully automated system linked online and in real time,” he added. Aptec’s credit department is also enhancing the services it provides to customers by building on a facility it launched earlier this year when it began sending customers automated weekly statements by e-mail. Resellers are now being given secure user names and passwords that allow them to access online statements and view documents such as outstanding invoices and payment allocations. At least 1,000 Middle East resellers have already received their password and been granted access to the system, with the only criteria being that customers must deal with Aptec throughout the quarter and spend a minimum of US$15,000. “This system saves time for the customer and our sales, credit and logistics departments, otherwise customers call us and we need to keep faxing them, which can take time if a sales person is busy or can’t be reached,” said Alex. The availability of fully automated RMA and statement of account services does not represent the first time Aptec has unleashed a set of online tools on the market. Back in 1999, it designed a system for its top corporate resellers to view stock availability and place orders over the web, but that system failed to generate enough interest and slowly fell out of use. However, Aptec is confident that with growing cost pressures and an increasing understanding of online tools among the reseller community, its latest services will quickly come to take their place among the more conventional methods of doing business in the Middle East channel. Aptec already operates a system that facilitates online software license purchasing, while its own e-shop sales tool has become a vital component of its internal operation. It now hopes the latest additions to its offering will inspire it to exorcise the ghost of seven years ago. “At the moment you cannot place an online order, but that is the next big step we are taking,” revealed Alex. “We are working on a modified version of the one we did seven years ago, possibly with a view of launching it in the fourth quarter of next year.” Aptec boasts a strong reach across the Middle East, Turkey and Africa and made sales of US$320m last year, according to the Channel Middle East Power List. The company carries a broad range of brands including Lexmark, Logitech and Symantec, and recently shifted its group headquarters to Dubai Internet City.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code