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Distributor Ingram Micro is working on a program to allow VARs to outsource some of their backroom operations.

Following its own success in outsourcing telephone contact with VARs to the Philippines and several backroom operations to Bangalore, India, the distributor is exploring a program to enable its 450 VentureTech Network VARs to take advantage of the practice, either overseas or through Ingram Micro.

“VARs look to use as an opportunity to provide scale and access to things they would never otherwise have access to,” said Kevin Murai, Ingram’s president and chief operating officer. “Outsourcing is something they couldn’t have done on their own.”

Ingram is exploring the manner in which the offering might be delivered, said Keith Bradley, president of Ingram Micro North America. Some offerings might include “those services that are not and shouldn’t be core competencies to do business” such as
call centers, payroll, human resources and even lead generation.

Ingram is exploring several measures to leverage an economy of size scale to bring services to its VAR community, including a marketing organization, Agency Express, Bradley said.

Click here to read why Ingram Micro’s Justin Crotty sees distributors as vital to Managed Services.

“Gone are the days when pick, pack and ship were distributor’s job,” he said. “That’s just the table stakes now. Today, VARs are looking for a partner that will make them more efficient—and overall lower the cost of doing business. ‘Am I better, faster, more stable because of the distributor?’”

VARs at VTN’s spring meeting in Montreal expressed tempered enthusiasm for outsourcing their programs.

John DeRocker, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Nexus Information Systems of Plymouth, Minn., has used the Agency Express program to help develop promotional materials, but retains a local marketing firm and would not consider outsourcing administrative duties.

“I’m already as lean and mean as I can be,” DeRocker said. “There is no way they could do it more efficiently than I could.”

Nexus, with 105 employees and $35 million in sales is able to run some back office operations independently and efficiently. A smaller VAR, where principals were handling administrative duties instead managing the business would be more likely to participate, said Scott Goemmel, executive vice president of PMV Technologies, Troy, Mich., and president of VTN’s advisory council.

“Ingram is very good at leveraging the economy of scale to make us more efficient,” Goemmel said. “Anything they can do better, faster and cheaper makes sense to consider.”