Acer sets sights on whitebox market

Acer's new assembly facility at Homebush in Sydney is gearing up to offer built-to-order desktops to the channel.

The computer manufacturer is currently limited to supplying machines in quantity; if resellers want a customised order, they must source and install the components themselves. The new system will allow the channel to place an order for as little as one customised machine.

Acer managing director Patrick Lin hopes the project will be underway by Q1 next year, with an average 85 per cent of orders completed and shipped within five working days.

"Logistically it is a major challenge, but we are trying to achieve 95 per cent of orders processed within three days," Lin said. "The other 5 per cent is reserved for natural disasters."

The plan, which also includes a B2B e-commerce strategy (which Lin describes as his "secret weapon" in Acer's bid to reach the number three PC vendor spot in the channel), aims to take a slice out of the whitebox market.

"Today the mass market is dominated by local assembly - that is why the whitebox is so popular in the SME area."

Lin claims that, rather than taking business from its channel, the customised-to-order scheme will help save resellers time and money.

The key to the company's success, according to Lin, lies in its core competencies - quality, support and customer relationship management.

"Logistics is very boring but very important," Lin said. "We ship out 96 per cent of our spare parts within 24 hours. We have the best quality controls in the industry but unfortunately it is not public knowledge.

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