IT Reseller Editor, Ed Holden, spoke with Mark Hewitt, Jarltech's Country Manager for the UK, about the company's compelling product and support offering to the channel.
Jarltech is one of Europe's largest POS and Auto-ID distributors, with a pedigree stretching more than 20 years. Headquartered in Usingen, Germany, the company runs local companies and sales organisations in the UK and throughout Europe, Jarltech also has a presence in the Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as a Chinese headquarters in Shenzhen, plus satellite sales offices in a number of other Chinese cities. This extensive geographical scope is required to best serve one of the most comprehensive vendor portfolios in the industry; comprising market-leading brands such as Datalogic, Epson, Honeywell, Zebra, Metapace, Citizen, Colormetrics, Elo Touch Solutions, Motorola, Glancetron, Getac and Panasonic.
Jarltech UK's Country Manager, Mark Hewitt points out the company is proud of the close relationships it has forged with these high-profile vendors. "We focus very much on working closely with the manufacturers, rather than just thriving on a simple customer/supplier relationship," he said. "Jarltech liaises closely with all of its vendor partners to understand the product in depth, to identify market opportunities, and to be able to serve our resellers' and their end customers' requirements going forward. All this is achievable by having not just a strong relationship with our vendor partners, but also securing a high level of trust in the way we work with each other."
In addition to being able to supply such an extensive product portfolio, Jarltech offers a compelling roll-call of additional benefits to its channel partners throughout Europe and beyond.
Total channel commitment
Jarltech is a 100 –per-cent channel distribution. "We never engage in any direct sales to the end-user," explained Hewitt. "Instead, we are totally focused on selling through our reseller partners. Indeed, we work very closely with them throughout Europe and other global territories in order to best support them in everything they need." If required, Hewitt explains that Jarltech can also directly liaise with the reseller's end customer to provide technical support or advice. "However, this is always within the context of providing extra support for our channel partners, and never with the goal of taking business from the reseller," he pointed out. For example, he explained that Jarltech can set up and configure vendors' systems and deliver them to the end customer on behalf of the partner ready to deploy within the workplace. "In fact, a substantial share of our shipments is directly to the end-user, without bypassing the reseller in any way," he said. "By doing this, the reseller usually has no reason to actually see the product and, moreover, this also reduces the reseller's required stockholding substantially."
In-depth product knowledge
Sales personnel within Jarltech's local teams across the globe have an in-depth knowledge of the company's vendor partners' products. "This has been achieved through intensive training with vendors locally and/or at our own training centre based at the head office in Usingen," explained Hewitt. "At our German HQ, we have a full training suite with demonstration rooms and working models of vendors' products. This means Jarltech sales staff are equipped to provide the reseller with the very best advice and support. If a reseller is unclear of exactly what they want, our sales team is able to offer clear guidance." Hewitt added that Jarltech is not a company that works by part numbers. "If customers don't know the part number of a product that's not a problem," he said. "We can go through a set of questions to identify the correct product to fit their end customers' requirements. And it's part of the sales team's remit to demystify any technical aspect of a product that the reseller might want to know more about."
Hewitt also made the point that some resellers don't necessarily know exactly what they are required to source on behalf of the end user, or know precisely what the product in question will be used for. "Again, this isn't a problem," he remarked. "We can help them with product selection in accordance with their end customers' specifications. It may be the case that we ask the reseller to obtain additional information and then come back to us in order that we can identify the very best fit for the user. So, unlike sourcing products from some of the web shops that are currently available, the reseller doesn't necessarily need to have in-depth technical knowledge to be able to sell the products we supply."
All Jarltech's product stock is held centrally at its Usingen headquarters, with a logistics regime that guarantees quick delivery wherever the reseller requires it. "Currently we hold 15 million euros worth of stock in order to satisfy all our channel partners' orders, both large and small," explained Hewitt. In terms of shipping, Jarltech offer a next-day service, a two-day guaranteed service, 2- to 3-day shipping and also freight forwarding for pallet shipments. In addition, it relies on its own vans and trucks that can either deliver directly to the courier hubs across Europe or to the border if a shipment needs to be fast-tracked at any time. As well as this high level of logistics flexibility, Jarltech can also ship up to as late as 6.30pm European time; meaning it is able to take orders in the UK up until 5.30pm for guaranteed same-day shipment. At the Usingen facility there is also a state-of-the-art warehouse infrastructure behind this order and stock activity to ensure picking is done cost-effectively, and that goods are shipped quickly and accurately.
Jarltech has a specialist team of buyers based in Usingen who are able to maximise the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the whole stock control process. "This means the core product portfolio is generally in stock and always available at the most favourable prices to our channel partners," said Hewitt. "We also work closely with the vendor to offer further pricing promotions and pricing support to our resellers where it's most needed; particularly on some of the larger volume deals."
By buying in large volumes, Jarltech is able to secure favourable discounts from the vendors, which means much of these cost benefits can be passed directly on to the resellers. "Because of these cost benefits, resellers can buy in small quantities and, in many cases, don't have to hold any stock themselves; which reduces their overall outlay even more," said Hewitt. "To achieve this, we work very closely with the vendors to work out the most cost-effective way of sourcing products; whether by pallets of products or in some cases by buying-in container loads."
Another benefit of Jarltech's channel-focused policy and focus is its attractive value-added warranty packages. These warranty deals can extend the vendor's own product warranties, and are fully supported by the Jarltech's European technical department in Usingen. Jarltech offers three main warranty packages, as Hewitt explains: "The first is a pre-exchange warranty that enables the reseller to have free replacement of product should it fail during the manufacturer's warranty period. Jarltech ships a replacement product and the reseller simply returns the defective units. This warranty deal is offered at a cost of 8 per cent of the reseller's cost. Jarltech also offers a warranty extension, which means we can extend the manufacturer's warranty up to 3 years. So if the manufacturer's warranty only covers the product for a year we can add a further two years to that warranty. This is offered at 9 per cent of the reseller's cost. The third package we offer is a full cover warranty up to 3 years. This covers all product failure, including accidental damage, and we replace or repair the product. This package is available at a cost of 18 per cent of the reseller's cost."
Jarltech also runs a highly successful channel bonus scheme. "Within the scheme each time an order is placed points are awarded to the reseller, once registered," Hewitt explained. "These points can then be used in a variety of ways. For example, we have an online bonus shop where resellers are awarded with a wide range of products for their own enjoyment. These could be anything from general household goods to DVDs or cameras. The points can also be used to offer an incentive to resellers' end customers, or they can even be used as an in-house staff bonus or Christmas raffle.
Jarltech VIP status
In addition, Jarltech offers its channel partners Silver and Gold VIP status. With regard to Silver VIP status, once resellers reach a certain level of bonus points Jarltech awards them an additional 2000 bonus points. "Additionally, we can offer them free delivery of goods over the value of £1000," Hewitt points out. "We can also provide them with special promotional kits and bundles, plus free technical training as required; whether that be in the UK or in person can in Germany." Gold VIP status resellers receive the same as the Silver VIP but in addition they are given 5,000 welcome points. "These resellers also get free delivery on all orders over £5000 and a further 25 per cent extra bonus points on sales," said Hewitt. "And as Gold Partners each product resellers sell means they will receive more points; allowing them to benefit further from the bonus shop. Another benefit is that they are automatically included as a Wine Club member, so several times a year they will be sent special bottles of wine."
And Jarltech is committed to providing its channel partners with the most effective marketing support. "For a small additional fee, we can offer resellers a brand-neutral online PDF catalogue," explained Hewitt. "These can be individualised for the particular reseller's use, with its own logo and company details." Jarltech also offers a channel emailing service. "Resellers can set up their own email shops and, while this is in the proven Jarltech format, the shop can be set up with a particular reseller's logo and contact details, with no mention of Jarltech. Also, Jarltech can provide its channel partners with seminar support. Here, Jarltech's marketing team can assist resellers in the planning and organisation of events. Additionally, resellers have access to the showroom and training centre at Jarltech's headquarters in Usingen, Germany.
Product and brand promotions
Jarltech regularly runs product promotions specific to a particular vendor partner or product line. For example, the company, together with Epson, as begun a service offensive for resellers in the UK whereby channel partners can benefit from numerous free-of-charge services and many additional advantages during the initial trial period of three months. The service offensive comprises services such as free delivery of every order with Epson POS hardware, and offers resellers incentives to receive free consumables as well as cash-back credit. The top-sellers in the Epson POS printer portfolio (TM-T88V, TM-T20 and TM-T70) also include as part of the service activities the pre-exchange service for the entire duration of the warranty, as well as a non-binding trial option with a money-back guarantee. The promotion is valid until 31 August 2013.
Hewitt concluded by emphasising Jarltech's total commitment to its reseller partners. "Think of us as your local partner here to serve all of your needs – to grow your business and to ensure you are able to provide the very best product and service offering to your end customers. It's all about partnership.