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Distributors turn to e-business

Comstor and Aptec both announce enhancements to their e-business solutions to reach out to reseller partners

The use of e-business facilities to engage with resellers is building up steam in the distribution channel after two of the region's top IT suppliers unveiled enhancements to their electronic offerings.

Cisco-focused VAD Comstor and regional distribution house Aptec have both rolled out sophisticated e-tools designed to strengthen relationships with reseller partners and improve overall ease of doing business.

Comstor has announced the Middle East launch of Compass, its own-brand suite of e-business tools and online services that gives registered partners an opportunity to view up-to-date stock availability. The portal, which is fully integrated with Comstor's back-end business applications, also enables dealers to check the pricing of inventories held locally and in the firm's European hubs.

"In such basic areas as stock availability we find that many resellers and indeed Cisco themselves want quick, up-to-date, online access," said Steve Lockie, managing director at Comstor Middle East. "This is especially the case for the many resellers who build sales proposals out of core business hours or need emergency access to products. E-commerce in IT distribution may still be some way off in this region but in terms of e-business, this portal is an essential accessibility tool for our customers."

Meanwhile, Aptec is promising resellers a sharp improvement in order and delivery turnaround time after formally rolling out its ‘e-Supply Chain'. The facility, which uses XML technology to integrate Aptec's iScala ERP system with vendors' order processing systems, automates the majority of the sales order process from initial quoting and ordering right through to final delivery.

Aptec has successfully tested the pilot system with security software vendor Symantec and is now in discussions with other vendor partners about rolling it out further.

Mario Veljovic, operations and commercial manager at Aptec, says the e-Supply Chain cuts the amount of manual-processed paperwork involved with order handling, thereby reducing human intervention and increasing internal productivity.

Veljovic insists the e-Supply Chain will also have positive implications for its reseller customers. "Having achieved a fully electronic supply chain without any duplication of work has helped us to reduce turnaround times on orders by up to 66%, speeding up delivery times while improving the accuracy of orders and reducing the need to add expensive heads as the business grows," he said.

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