Supply Disruptions: Progress Made, but Not Solved

By Lawrence Walsh  |  Print this article Print

In this interview with Channel Insider, Cisco’s global channel chief Keith Goodwin reveals how video is driving virtualization adoption and that midmarket companies – not large enterprises – accelerated Cisco’s next-generation data center and networking vision.

LW: A lot has been made out of that over the last six months in terms of your ability to deliver products, either a result of a lack of raw materials or a supplier coming up short. Has Cisco resolved that issue, and what has it done in terms of making sure that your partners don't experience that same disruption going forward?
KG: This has been a big one for our partners. The recovery happened sooner and much more quickly than we thought it would. It accelerated a much higher rate than we thought it would. So that was on the demand side. On the supply side, quite frankly, the suppliers have gotten very good at ramping down capacity very quickly, and a downturn takes longer to ramp it back up. We got out of sync there, and we have been working hard to recover. We have made dramatic progress. We're not out of the woods on all of the products, but we are continuing to work hard on it.

LW: Have you readjusted your forecasting?
KG: We have done a lot with our forecasting. It's difficult, but where we had to get better was being able to be more granular in our forecasting down to the product levels. We started to recover from a product availability standpoint. Some products continued to suffer because we kind of missed the forecast on those specific products. We've put a lot more rigger in place to not only do the macro-forecasting, but to really be more accurate down at the product and skew level.

LW: Did the supply chain disruptions have an effect on the gray market? Did it cause a shift into the secondary or unauthorized channels?
KG: That's one where it's hard to distinguish the hype versus the reality. There were clearly some gray marketers out there positioning their ability to deliver products that had challenges, but how successful they really were in doing that could be questioned. We haven't seen a significant uptake. There's been a little bit of hype, but we haven't seen a significant uptake or upturn in gray marketing associated with that.


Lawrence Walsh Lawrence Walsh is editor of Baseline magazine, overseeing print and online editorial content and the strategic direction of the publication. He is also a regular columnist for Ziff Davis Enterprise's Channel Insider. Mr. Walsh is well versed in IT technology and issues, and he is an expert in IT security technologies and policies, managed services, business intelligence software and IT reseller channels. An award-winning journalist, Mr. Walsh has served as editor of CMP Technology's VARBusiness and GovernmentVAR magazines, and TechTarget's Information Security magazine. He has written hundreds of articles, analyses and commentaries on the development of reseller businesses, the IT marketplace and managed services, as well as information security policy, strategy and technology. Prior to his magazine career, Mr. Walsh was a newspaper editor and reporter, having held editorial positions at the Boston Globe, MetroWest Daily News, Brockton Enterprise and Community Newspaper Company.