When Distributors Merge, Do Product Sourcing Tools Change?
When Avnet announced plans to acquire Bell Microproducts earlier today, The VAR Guy started to wonder: Do distributor mergers impact product sourcing tools like QuoteWerks, Quosal and VARStreet? Of course, The VAR Guy went looking for answers. Here they are.
First, a little background. Product sourcing tools shifted into the spotlight when Autotask acquired VARStreet earlier this month. Readers jumped into the conversation, pointing out that several VARStreet alternatives — such as QuoteWerks and Quosal — also hook into distributor systems to assist VAR product sourcing.
So far, so good. But when Avnet snapped up Bell Micro earlier today The VAR Guy wondered if such deals impact the various quoting tools on the market. Here’s a sampling of answers…
Quosal: “We have many customers that use Avnet resources, but I don’t believe that either of those companies provide real-time feeds,” says Kent S. McNall, president and CEO of Quosal. However, McNall thinks distributor mergers shouldn’t trigger concerns among VARs. “Usually distributors are trying to keep existing interfaces and relationships in place for continuity for their customers,” he adds.
QuoteWerks: With the QuoteWerks Real-time Module, QuoteWerks can obtain real-time pricing and availability from 12 different distributors around the world including Bell Micro, according to Brian Laufer, VP of operations at QuoteWerks. “I have been in communication with my contacts over at Bell Micro in regards to the acquisition and am pleased to say that everything will remain business as usual,” says Laufer. “They will keep me informed if we will need to make any changes, but there are no clear dates set as to when there will be changes to their backend systems. QuoteWerks is dedicated to our Bell Micro userbase and will make changes as their systems are merged.”
VARStreet: Autotask has VARStreet customers that leverage Avnet, and VARStreet supports the Avnet feeds into the customers’ catalogs. However, Avnet customers need to go through their Avnet account reps to get the VARStreet connection established. At present, VARStreet doesn’t have a feed from Bell Micro, but there have been discussions in the past and those discussions could re-start now that Avnet is acquiring Bell Micro. “A lot depends on the capabilities and the backend systems of the distributors, and what they can support,” says Autotask Chief Marketing Officer Bob Vogel.
No doubt, the distributor landscape will continue to consolidate. Will the sourcing tool providers keep pace? The VAR Guy will keep an eye on the changing distributor landscape, and how VARs plug into distributor systems.