IBM is to launch an Internet ordering service for its midrange products in the UK in October as part of its strategy to cut delivery times.
The site, IBM Shop, is part of the company?s Premier Response programme, a series of initiatives to re-engineer IBM?s manufacturing, distribution and marketing operations.
The aim is to increase the turnaround time of ordering its products for the AS/400 and RS/6000 platforms.
?We want to eat what we are cooking: we want to use all of the capacity of Web to get closer to our customers and business partners,? said Julien Roitman, director of product management for IBM.
Internet ordering will take advantage of the main initiatives of Premier Response Quickshop, which has been quietly ramping up from its launch in January this year via IBM?s channel and its direct sales operations.
IBM claimed Quickshop will deliver off-the-shelf products within four days and custom configure products such as mid-range boxes within six days.
Its plan is to cut both these times by one day next year.
This programme creates a significant difference in delivery time compared to standard delivery programmes which can take upwards of three weeks, the company said.
Faster delivery times were achieved by improvements in the manufacturing process and by using third party airborne delivery services, said Roitman.
He added that was faster than its usual methods via its normal distributor channel.
Only selected products can be bought through Quickshop but IBM said it plans to extend the current 450 or so products and add more products as well as the AS/400e.
Roitman said that of the selected products, already 20 per cent of the sales volume was shipping through Quickshop and it would be 50 per cent by the end of next year.
However, he insisted the channel was in no way bypassed and most orders would be made by or fulfilled through business partners.
He added that although IBM planned to significantly expand its direct marketing expenditure, less and less sales would be done direct and an increasing number passed to its channel.
Channel partners do not have to sign up for the programme and they specify orders as Quickship for eligible products. The scheme covers 13 European countries.
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