Maintenance specialist Comtek has claimed demand for third-party services is soaring as distributors increasingly look to focus on their core business.
More than 60 per cent of the 20 European distributors surveyed by Comtek, which provides outsourced return merchandise authorisation (RMA) services to vendors, revealed they would terminate a vendor contract based on their handling of returns.
In addition, the firm discovered that the average turnaround for 95 per cent of RMA and repair services was between one and two months, with just five per cent claiming the turnaround is completed in less than a week.
Comtek’s results also revealed that 85 per cent of the distributors surveyed were forced to carry extra stock along with test and repair facilities, to compensate for a vendor’s lack of local facilities. The same 85 per cent of respondents preferred that vendors which lack their own in-country RMA logistics should outsource the provision of this service to a qualified third party.
Askar Sheibani, chief executive of Comtek, said: “The findings of the survey echo the dissatisfaction that we have encountered among channel partners that are deeply frustrated by the time and cost involved in repairing faulty equipment where vendors have no local facilities in place.
“As transportation costs continue to escalate and companies increasingly seek to project a greener image and free up distribution partners to concentrate on selling products, we are seeing a strong move towards outsourcing RMA procedures.”
Jim Blastos, vice president operation of Vocera Communications, backed the third-party route.
“Comtek created an online tracking system to verify warranties and register and track products in the RMA process, and acted as the intermediary between our US offices and European distributors and customers.
“The system has had a dramatic impact on turnaround times, reducing the cycle from between seven and 10 days down to two to three days.”
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