Networking distributor Azlan is direct selling into large accounts, resellers claimed, after the firm admitted giving dealer Netman just u3 margin on the sale of IBM hubs to office supplies conglomerate 3M.
The accusations were voiced last week as it emerged that Azlan is supplying 3M with IBM hubs for #693. It charges dealers u690 for the product.
The distributor justified the deal, saying it makes no extra profit as it gives the u3 difference to Netman. Azlan is believed to have other similar deals in operation.
One reseller called the deal as 'utterly wrong', saying it was evidence that 'resellers can't trust distributors'.
Netman MD Andrew Porter said it had asked Azlan to step in on the 3M deal when tendering became too competitive. 'Azlan is supporting us by commodity supplying into that account,' he said.
Chris Glossop, MD of networking dealer Interop, said Netman's only involvement with the Azlan/3M deal was in collecting the u3. 'Orders are faxed direct, product is shipped direct, 3M is invoiced direct. Azlan claims this is all above board because they don't see a profit, but if all distributors did that, resellers would be out of business.'
James Maunder, sales director at Azlan, admitted u3 was an absurd amount of money to make on a hub, but denied Azlan was undermining the channel.
'We are just trying to support our resellers, some of which do not have the financial bandwidth to handle large corporate accounts.'
Dave Inman, marketing director at rival distributor Anixter, said: 'Whether Azlan are doing this with reseller knowledge or not, it's just a backdoor way of screwing the channel.'
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