Parallel online deal assists Toshiba, HP

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Online Australian reseller Parallel Solutions & Distribution has been named Toshiba's only authorised dealer for out-of-warranty spare parts in Australia.

Products that have been parallel-imported are often out of warranty, creating headaches for vendors when customers wanting repairs must be turned away. When customers can not get service, long-term damage can be done to a brand.

Chris Russell, director of Parallel Solutions & Distribution, said the deal would give Toshiba a way to service customers who bought out-of-warranty products.

“Traditionally, a client would ring one of the ProCare dealers identified on Toshiba's website. [But] the ProCare dealer's primary function was to look after in-warranty Toshiba notebooks,” he said. “Toshiba wanted to increase their spare parts sales outside their normal channels.”

Further, the ProCare dealers were focused on servicing the notebooks, and would often only sell the part required if the notebook was delivered to them, incurring a service charge on top of the cost of the part.

“That could bump the price of a $50 part up to $150. Understandably, some of the clients got irate,” Russell said. “Then when we came to Toshiba in early 2002 offering to sell parts, [the deal] began to fall into place.”

Parallel Solutions has a 600m2 warehouse 20 minutes from Sydney airport capable of stocking large amounts of inventory. Products can be repaired quicker in Australia, which is a long way from major vendors' headquarters and subject to various time zones, when parts are available locally and can be ordered around the clock.

“People say 'is there still a market for notebooks more than a year and a half old?' But you can upgrade them these days – I have a notebook still going from two years ago or more,” Russell said.

Concurrently, HP has awarded Parallel Solutions a Master Parts Reseller designation. Parallel submitted a proposal to HP in late 2001, but the process stalled during the HP-Compaq merger until early this year.

“HP and Toshiba are both seeking someone to hold stock for them and we have basically only come online with this in the last week or two,” Russell said. “In the past, when you wanted to order from HP, it would go to HP's office in Melbourne and you had to order your parts and they would be sent via a freight forwarder.”

Parallel could place orders and transfer data via HP's B2B portals, including inventory files uploaded via Parallel's Australian Computer Parts Network website, technical information, support and parts exchange.

“Through www.acpn.com.au , clients can consolidate their ordering. They can order HP, Toshiba, IBM and Compaq spare parts on the one order, saving considerable time and money,” Russell said.

He said Parallel would approach other large vendors, including Dell, to discuss a deal and planned to expand into New Zealand later this year.

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