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Distributors Rally to Support Partners During Pandemic

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As every channel partner business faces a litany of challenges to keep their company up and running, their customers satisfied and their employees safe, partners are looking for answers from distribution, a critical link in their business supply chain. Distributors are rallying for their partners during this unprecedented time. Here’s what we learned.

Channel Partners reached out to D&H Distributing, Ingram Micro, Pax8, Synnex, and Tech Data. [We will continue to reach out to these and other distributors and master agents in the coming days and weeks, as the situation remains fluid.]

All distributors, with the exception of Pax8 and Synnex, have some kind of COVID-19 action statement posted on their website at this time, and all distributors have been in contact with partners via email.

D&H's Michael Schwab

D&H’s Michael Schwab

If ever there was a distribution company ready to weather this crisis, it’s 102-year old D&H — in business since 1918, the year of the Spanish Flu, a deadly influenza pandemic. “We survived the Spanish Flu through World Wars, depressions, the great recession, so we have the fortitude to see this through and come out the other side,” Michael Schwab, co-president at D&H told Channel Partners.

In fact, he said, signs of disruption in the tech marketplace started with the Chinese Lunar New Year, around January 25. “We started to see the factories not getting back to full production due to the impact of the virus in China, which immediately led to some concerns about product availability through March and April. And, that, has played out on steroids, primarily because of the huge incremental demand that’s taken place over the last week as corporations and small businesses migrate to a remote working strategy,” said Schwab.

As businesses and schools move to a remote strategy, Chromebooks, Windows notebooks, etc., as well as other technology products, mice, keypads, docking stations, monitors and networking equipment are seeing constraints with increased demand.

“I don’t expect to see that change for over the next two to three weeks,” he said. “We’re trying to secure more inventory on our partner’s behalf.”

The distributor is fielding questions from customers about products as well as what to tell their customers. “We want to communicate how we can help them succeed, including talking to our credit department, sharing our business contingency planning and so on,” said Schwab.

D&H posted a co-president’s message from Dan Schwab and Michael Schwab, as well as a short video, and points partners to a dedicated email group to handle questions. The company has dedicated partnerpriority@dandh.com to escalate any urgent inquiries partners may have.

Michael Urban, president, worldwide technology solutions distribution at Synnex, echoed Schwab’s message. “The distribution supply chain will see challenges in the coming weeks. Specifically, PCs will continue to be in high demand as more people work from home and schools transition to digital learning. At Synnex, we have been working since February to increase warehouse inventory, to ensure fulfillment and minimize impact to customers. We are carefully managing our supply chain and …

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