Today is the second day of VARTECH 2016 in Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak with BlueStar leaders about POS, payment processing, IoT, and healthcare. Today, I was able to speak with Dan Brewer, technical services manager at Bluestar. Brewer’s message is simple: VARs should be leveraging BlueStar’s many services to extend their capabilities, improve their profitability, and win more business.
For example, BlueStar’s custom configuration services is a cost savings for VARs. Historically, VARs order products from BlueStar. BlueStar ships the products to the VARs, and then the VARs configure the products for their customers. If BlueStar configures the solution at its facilities, the “ready” solution can be drop shipped to the end user. The cost of BlueStar performing the services is less than VARs having to ship the products twice. That alone is cost justification. Additionally, there are labor and time savings.
Also, consider what you’d do if you are presented with an opportunity to win the business of a client that’s out of your league in terms of size or needs. Rather than pass on the business, you can work with BlueStar’s Technical Services team to scale up temporarily meet those needs. “We’ve had VARs lean on us to prepare thousands of pieces for one rollout,” recalls Brewer. “Whether they lacked the space, time, or ability, we were able to help.”
Using BlueStar for these one-off projects is one thing, but Brewer also says the distributor has plenty of small VAR partners that always act bigger than they are because they use BlueStar’s services as part of their everyday business model. Nothing wrong with that at all. For some VARs, doing so makes great sense.
Brewer’s team also handles technical support after the sale. If you’re a BlueStar partner, this service is free and you can call whenever you’d like. “Some VARs get us on the line asking us to be an extension of them and then conference in the customer,” he says. “This allows us to become an extension of the VAR’s support.” The demand for BlueStar’s technical services is so high that the company has tripled the size of its department a couple times in recent years.
Brewer has seen a decrease in call volume recently due to VARs getting better education on the products they sell and being better able to solve problems themselves. Additionally, Brewer says that when BlueStar is involved in custom configuration prior to a rollout, the number of issues that happen post sale are dramatically reduced.
Finally, Brewer says there is an additional benefit to his department that is often overlooked by VARs. Specifically, he’s referring to custom packaging. With this benefit, BlueStar can ship products with a VAR’s logo on the box as opposed to a blank box or one with the manufacturer’s logo. This can give VARs additional brand recognition.
“We have one customer that does stadium installs,” he says. “They were having trouble putting people on site getting systems up and running.” He continues by saying that this VAR struggled with the organization and management of all the components that are shipped to put together a POS system. Think about it: you have hundreds of terminals to install in a stadium. There’s a box for the terminal, one for the receipt printer, one for the cash drawer, and so on. Each component arrives on its own skid at different times and get shoved into whatever corner is open. Not only was keeping things sorted and accessible a challenge, the packing material after the install was unwieldy and challenging to dispose of. To solve the problem, the VAR leveraged BlueStar for its custom configuration services. The distributor got the systems setup and then put an entire system into a single box. Expandable foam was injected to fill the box. Additionally, the boxes had the VAR’s logo, so there was no confusion on arrival to the customer site as to what was where. “The end result to the VAR was that our services allowed them to not have to hunt for their pieces,” says Brewer. “They didn’t have to install software or test hardware. They didn’t need to send as much staff on site. We reduced their install times by 50 percent.”
While this example might not match your situation, it paints a great picture of how BlueStar’s technical services division can help your business. Are you taking advantage of this service?