As an independent software vendor (ISV) or OEM, what do you look for in a platform solution provider? What services should your provider offer? In this fourth of five articles on UNICOM Engineering’s 5-Point LEAD System, we look at global logistics as a factor in choosing a platform provider.
Any platform provider should be able to drop ship to their end customers; a great platform provider does more. For example, with international transactions, your provider should monitor compliance policies, adhere to customs regulations, and complete the appropriate paperwork.
It would be great if your platform provider managed your evaluation pool for you. When units are returned from trade shows, sales meetings, customer evaluations, or other events, the platform provider would test and refurbish them so they could be sold or sent out again with a “fresh-out-of-the-box” impression.
It would also be ideal if your provider could eliminate your need to stock and handle finished goods. This can be accomplished by utilizing your production schedule forecast by pre-building, packaging, stocking, and securely storing products to await your customer orders. You would save on the overhead costs of storing and managing finished goods inventory at your site as well as on the additional cost of shipping to and from your site.
A Portal to View it All
What would really be advantageous is a portal to view and manage your inventory and shipping details. The portal should enable you to check the status of inventory (including evaluation pool inventory), track orders, arrange shipments, view forecasts, and produce reports. You should be able to view the information by PO, ship date, or serial number. The portal also should make obtaining and tracking RMAs quick and easy.
Service, Support, and Protection Programs
No platform provider could claim to offer global logistics without providing worldwide service, support, and protection programs. The provider should have a global network in place to provide replacement parts when and where you need them. They should be able to look ahead and stock for routine maintenance as well as have parts available quickly for those unplanned events.
Who Can Provide All These Services?
Is there any appliance platform provider that offers all these great global logistics services? Check out UNICOM Engineering, which has 18 U.S. and six international forward-stocking locations.