Online retailers have long used “virtual warehouses” run by other parties in preference to maintaining expensive stock facilities themselves, and increasing numbers of mainstream IT firms are cottoning on to the technique as a way to cut costs and smooth product delivery.
Distributor Tech Pacific maintains “virtual” facilities for several large customers, including Hewlett-Packard, Compaq and systems integrator gen-i, at an Albany warehouse.
Auckland-based B2B hub Vetservice, founded by James Coddington, servicing the country's vets, rents warehouse space from a landlord in return for a monthly fee and commission on sales, without the landlord having an role in the trading.
Gen-i claims savings of a couple of days in supplying IT customers from the Tech Pacific facility, which opened in June. Gen-i stores all hardware and software for clients at the warehouse, which includes a commissioning facility within the warehouse to configure or customise desktops, servers or communications equipment prior to delivery. Gen-i services general manager Leigh Jackson says the warehouse streamlines gen-i's distribution, reduces processing costs in the supply chain and offers more services to clients. He says customised orders can be processed directly at the warehouse, whereas previously this involved ordering equipment from a vendor's warehouse, putting them together at gen-i's building in Auckland and only then despatching it to the customer.
Gen-i and Tech Pacific pay each other service charges for the facility.
Compaq access business group director Andrew Seerden described the virtual warehouse as a “very positive” move to reduce costs while improving customer service.
"Tech Pacific warehouses a large volume of Compaq equipment and with its distribution and logistics capability reduces the cost of doing business for its customers.”