Reversing IT

DQW Bureau
08 Feb 2011

Think of a warranty repair and one
would probably think of an after-market services or reverse supply
chain, as said by the vendors. In fact, reverse logistics is the most
evolved term conventionally used to denote the complexities of
warranty issues. The market for the low-cost outsourcing model for
their warranty support and repair needs is attracting more and more
OEMs and ODMs. With such attention on its part, this segment is
expected to grow manifold evolving from a profound transformation.

Of late, the market for repair
outsourcing in the channel industry is transforming into a lucrative
business, though much business in the sector is still unorganized as
many endusers prefer locally available and often cheaper services.
However , with more branded players getting into the fray and
increasing customer demands for repair, the scenario is going to
experience a lot of change. The boost in the repair outsourcing
segment is expected to grow manifold with the help of a higher rate
of technological obsolescence and faster upgrade cycles, especially
in lifestyle oriented products.

According to Nitin Shah, MD, Allied
Digital Services, “Repair and remote troubleshooting is a huge
industry and companies are offering remote helpdesk support and
technical expertise through outsourcing model, which is
cost-effective.” The company maintains a helpdesk with service
engineering staff, and offers technical support to end-users. Allied
Digital Services, an IT infrastructure management and technical
support services outsourcing company had acquired Digicomp, to
provide component repair services to IT and telecommunications
hardware makers.

One of the key companies in this
segment that has grown significantly is, inTarvo technologies, which
has more than 400 service centres and 200 locations. “We have
support from most of the leading security manufacturers. We are also
pioneering the third-party service provider field in electronic
security and helping OEMs and channel partners to serve their
customer base better by maintaining critical electronic security
infrastructure in time,” said Sudheer Puthhiran, President-Field
Services, inTarvo Technologies. In the changing competitive ma rke t
s c ena r io, the customer doesn't have the time to wait too long,
and any hardware and software downtime is productivity loss to him.
Thus, any delay in delivery or longer turnaround time makes customer
reaction very uncertain. So it is compulsory for the company to keep
its customers updated on the issues with the product and expected
time of delivery online on a real-time basis. The company's
customers , especially Fortune 500 companies, typically do not carry
out component-level repairs but module repairs , which implies a
quicker turnaround time. Service delivery depends on OEM policies,
warranty period, kind of refurbishment or repair required and the
availability of spare parts and accessories.

Zakir Hussain Rangwala from Alladin
Multimedia, Mumbai also commented, “It's a profitable business
for both the parties. For the software installation of a product in
Kolkata, I had asked Chabria Infotech in Kolkata to do the following
requirement. As far as the pricing and warranty is considered, there
is no particular margin and it depends completely on the product.”
“Also in this model, the customer experience is owned and delivered
by the OEM, while the partner delivers whole unit repair plus spare
units and parts. Commodity suppliers are linked directly to the
outsourcing partner, creating a unified relationship with the OEM,”
he added.

Change of Plan

While warranty repair continues to be a
key area of focus in reducing cost and improving the customer
experience, the trend toward providing an end-to-end services supply
chain continues to evolve with the potential to create even greater
value for OEMs, their channels, partners and end-customers. However,
a drive towards end-to-end services requires improved efficiency
throughout the entire reverse supply chain to realize maximum
benefits. Speed and custome r expectations are rapidly changing the
scenario in reverse logistics. In order to lean out the entire
services supply chain, one will find several market drivers that are
creating opportunities for the same. “Matured organizations
generally appoint one or few service providers who can offer them
warranty support. Most OEMs appoint those service providers who can
offer call center, carry-in and on-site support. Vendors use the
channel support for their end-customers. We have Digicomp with us in
27 locations for the carry-in support of our products,” added Shah.

By introducing new products, OEMs are
definitely finding way to stay ahead in competition. Of course, there
is also a need and
ongoing challenge of protecting the quality of all products in the
channel. Apart from this, endcustomers are demanding greater product
reliability and uptime. As a result the service supply chain demands
have increased efficiency through the optimization of the services
ecosystem due to these market drivers. Warranty repair is also
replaced by the end-to-end services and global outsource solutions
that are emerging rapidly.

Tie-ups with Partners

Crucial in this game, channels
partnerships backed by commendable presence and service support have
been the backbone of the company. inTarvo plans to enlist more
support through the franchisee model with its listed partners. To
bolster its support operations, inTarvo had also initiated the Tech
Gurukul program for training engineers, science graduates and diploma
holders in various technologies such as networking, GSM and CDMA, BTS
installation, RF technologies, Windows server, routers and switches.
technical training and development arm, Tech Gurukul provides
franchisee model for channel partners
for opening centres for training fresh graduates and engineers on
job-oriented courses in various IT domains. They also train fresh
graduates and engineers to provide customers with a readily
deployable workforce. “ inTarvo will be expanding its ability to
help channel partners by giving regular training services for
electronic security systems. Our franchisee network has also been
strengthened and we are equipping them with support for the
electronic security products,” added Puthhiran. “For an OEM to
have a successful services supply chain, there is a need to pursue an
end-toend service outsourcing model, leverage best-inclass
capabilities, never lose focus on improving customer satisfaction,
and ruthlessly simplify. This business is growing rapidly and as it
evolves, the members within the environment also need to evolve to
maintain balance. Success will be predicated on driving improved
customer value by leaning out the entire services supply chain,
focusing on a complete endto- end services strategy and having the
right partners in place to execute results,” added Shah.

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