Fujitsu-ICL will not follow most of its PC rivals into direct sales over the Internet, because it can already offer build-to-order kit in any country within 24 hours, it claims.
In an exclusive interview with 'VNU Newswire' at the Comdex/Fall show in Las Vegas, Winfried Hoffman - European managing director and chief operating officer of Fujitsu-ICL - said the PC and server vendor will not follow the example of direct sellers Dell and Gateway 2000, despite recent moves into Web-based direct sales by channel-focused rivals including Apple, Compaq and IBM.
Hoffman said US-based competitors like Compaq have a disadvantage in Europe and Asia because they often have one large factory, rather than many sites spread around the continents. ?Compaq?s one [European] factory is not close to many customers but we can ship within 24 hours to anywhere on earth," he boasted. The company also plans to guarantee delivery within 48 hours in 1998.
Custom building hardware at the factory and then getting resellers to assemble or tailor it merely adds to the cost, according to Hoffman. ?We do not want channel assembly or direct sales,? he said. ?We build-to-order at factories now, which keeps inventory small, ensures CE approval and makes indirect partners happy.?
A Web-based direct sales operation would force Fujitsu-ICL to open an invoicing and shipping unit, Hoffman said, which would contradict its pledge to only supply directly when the customer refuses to deal with resellers.
Fujitsu-ICL has 25,000 employees in Europe, far more than any US vendor, and the company said it differentiates in Europe by doing business in ?a global way?, rather than following American business practices.
The company has launched its Cordant line of PCs and servers in the UK and Germany, with other European countries to follow. The range is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses.
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