Vox pop: Is there still money in PCs?

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This article appeared in the November 2016 issue of CRN magazine.

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Vox pop: Is there still money in PCs?

Feraaz Abrahams, 
General manager sales and marketing, Precision Industries

Yes for revenue, but only if your back-end systems and processes are efficient. Automation through the whole supply chain is required because where there is a substantial labour or manual involvement, the margins will deteriorate significantly. 

We’ve definitely experienced that situation and it’s forced us to ensure our processes are efficient and to introduce automation, from customer order receipt through the supply chain and to customer payments. 

What we’ve had to do to maximise margins is implement innovative fulfilment processes. That means moving away from one-to-one order placement and delivery, to one-to-many fulfilment processes. Rather than ship orders on an order-by-order basis, we receive orders, bulk them up, and deliver to a central location for pickup by customers within agreed timeframes.

Victor Lee
Founder, Mwave

There is some money in PCs still if you have your own specialty and business strategy. 

There is no money left in general PCs due to the volume pressure from the manufacturer end. Luckily, an increased demand on gaming, virtual reality and high-performance PC systems has helped the industry and do-it-yourself market. 

For those standalone brand PCs, vendors are getting more sensible and strategising in the way they run their market programs. This makes it easier for resellers to sell their PCs. 

On the do-it-yourself side, mid to high-end custom systems have become the major portion of the build (at least at Mwave). Help for configuration, build quality, lead times and problem solving are more valued by customers. 

As the consequence of these changes, both revenue and profit can be well managed at a healthy level.

Karl Sice
General manager, Staples Technology Solutions

There is definitely opportunity in PCs on an aggregate basis, but the total available opportunity is shrinking as demand is reducing in most of the traditional PC markets.

We are doing a lot of work around particular workloads, such as vertical apps in healthcare, solutions in local government and areas like professional services. They are looking for disruptive solutions, and PCs can be a part of that. Also, we are seeing that the takeup of form factors is changing; the two-in-one hybrid and the tablet and phablet areas are growing, while traditional desktop and the clamshell notebooks are going backwards. 

At Staples, we’ve already made accommodation for the change by focusing on a broader spread of services in the IT market. This allows us to serve customers looking for homogenised outcomes.

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