Supercom bids for IBM POS line

Supercom Canada resellers may be able to break into the point of sales market soon if a partnership between the distributor and IBM bears fruit, a deal which will challenge the monopoly of the U.S.-based source of the equipment.

The two companies are looking at creating a new channel for Big

Blue’s point-of-sale (POS) products, according to spokesmen from both companies.

“”We’re working on a trial basis with Supercom to see how well we can play together in this market,”” said Donna Lester, retail store solutions channel manager for IBM Canada.

IBM’s line includes the SurPOS 300, 500 and 600 hardware, printers and screens.

If the plan goes ahead it could be a challenge to Greenville, S.C. – based ScanSource Inc., which until now had the sole rights to distribute the IBM POS line in this country.

“”IBM does not have much Canadian presence for these products,”” said Sandy McLeod, Supercom Canada’s senior product manager. “”Most of them have to be sourced out of the U.S. and through (ScanSource), so the Canadian reseller base have to live with that and deal with U.S. currency and delays in shipping.

“”A number of our resellers would like more of the IBM products and they’ve identified point of sales as an opportunity in the small business arena.””

The goal is not to move the estimated 40 Canadian resellers who deal with ScanSource to his company, said McLeod. “”IBM doesn’t want any displacement of that investment,”” he stressed. Instead, the company wants to expand the number of POS resellers already dealing with Supercom Canada.

But, he added, it will also be another source for existing resellers.

ScanSource spokesmen, however, bristled at the suggestion they don’t service this country well. It has a Richmond, B.C., office for serving Western Canada and a Buffalo, N.Y., office for serving central and eastern Canada, and bills in Canadian dollars. However, product is sent from the U.S.

But Jeff Klossner, ScanSource’s sales team leader in Buffalo, notes the company offers free two-day ground shipping. “”Which is better than many of our Canadian competitors, because they charge freight,”” he said. He wouldn’t detail how much POS business ScanSource does here.

At least one reseller contacted by CDN who deals through ScanSource for IBM POS products wouldn’t want to switch. “”We can get things here next day free of charge,”” said John Dominelli, president and CEO of NRT Technology Corp. of Toronto.

Supercom Canada sales staff has already begun talking about the IBM products to its top resellers to gauge their interest. If enough say yes then distribution of the IBM line will start in January 2004.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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