Sun is hoping to finally win its ongoing battle with the grey market by launching two new online initiatives.
The vendor, which has been criticised by VARs in the past for not having control over its grey market, has launched its Sun Syndicated Catalogue, an online tool for resellers that allows them access to the information, functionality and product coverage on Sun's own catalogue system.
The vendor has also built an e-commerce site with VAR Arcadia where Sun kit can be bought.
Manufacturer over-production and factory over-runs have traditionally worked in favour of the grey market. Sun has been working to tackle these issues to ensure it isn't making more equipment than it can sell. The firm has also tightened its supply chain with its Customer Fulfillment in Transit scheme.
"Grey-market brokers would not exist if customers did not need them," said Gary Nugent, iForce partner and mid-market sales manager at Sun.
"Part of this initiative is about getting prices online quickly."
Nugent added that Sun has developed the online tools to provide an electronic transaction vehicle for VARs which he said Sun had been fairly lax in doing.
Nigel Lomas, commercial director at reseller Trams, said his firm has taken to the vendor's syndicated catalogue, but he poured scorn on vendors that complain about the grey market. "A lot of our customers want to have a look at what products and prices are on offer before calling us," said Lomas.
"We don't expect to sell a lot of products online, but it does seem to be useful to the customer.
Lomas added that it is very easy to find a grey broker that will sell kit quite openly. "And it's not as if the manufacturers can't trace it," he said.
"It's a double-edged sword. Manufacturers complain bitterly about it, but don't really do very much to finish the business off."
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