Disties ready for HP shipping shutdown

As HP continues its journey of one company becoming two, it will not be shipping – to partners or to customers – this week. But the people who perhaps understand HP’s channel supply chain best, the company’s distributors, don’t expect the shutdown to impact HP’s business.

On August 1, HP formally split its systems, and will operate as two separate companies – HP Enterprise and Hewlett-Packard Inc. – ahead of the two companies completely and legally splitting on November 1. As part of that process, the company will not be shipping to customers between August 1 and August 6.

“During this time customers and partners will still be able to submit orders in the usual way.  Those orders will be processed and fulfilled by either HP Inc., or Hewlett Packard Enterprise depending on the order. Orders placed between August 1 and August 6 are estimated to begin shipping on August 7,” read a statement provided to ChannelBuzz.ca by HP Canada.

HP’s online partner tools and resources remain available to partners this week, having gone through their own transition already. And, of course, any items sold through distribution – as most of HP’s channel-facing products are – continue to be available from distribution, as long as they have stock.

And maintaining that stock shouldn’t be a problem. Both Ingram Micro Canada and Tech Data Canada said while they haven’t necessarily taken on extra inventory to brace for the shipping shutdown this week, that they don’t anticipate any availability issues.

Greg Myers, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Tech Data Canada.

Greg Myers, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Tech Data Canada.

“We get similar things with some vendors over the holiday season, for example, and as long as there’s adequate planning in front of it, it doesn’t cause too much concern,” said Greg Myers, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Tech Data Canada. “At any given moment, there are 10 or 20 different influences on our stocking levels with any given vendor. This is a less-common scenario, but inventory planning is always a function of demand, forecast, and customer engagement. And none of that is particularly impacted by a three- or four-day planned shutdown.”

Mark Snider, general manager of Ingram Micro Canada, echoed those thoughts, and added that because HP’s manufacturing engine is still running, supply levels at distribution will quickly be back to normal.

“I look at it as something that’s not going to be a glitch. We’re going to be well-stocked in August, Snider said.

There are a number of factors that work in favour of the timing of this particular shutdown, coming, as it does, on a “short week” due to much of Canada having the first Monday of August off. Coming off a long weekend also means it’s prime time for vacations, making this first week of August “one of the slowest weeks of the year,” according to Snider.

“If certainly effects us one day less than our American friends,” agreed Myers.

It also helps that both distributors say the shutdown and other changes around the shutdown were communicated well in advance to both distribution and solution providers.

Both distributors, for example, have been involved in planning for the split with representatives from HP, and have tested to make sure their existing systems will work with the newly split company. Both distributors’ business structure has also helped ease the change.

Ingram Micro Canada general manager Mark Snider

Ingram Micro Canada general manager Mark Snider

“There’s already a lot of separation between HP and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise at Ingram Micro,” Snider said. “They already had unique vendor codes in our systems, for example. We present one HP to our customers, but for a long time, those two sides of HP have worked very differently with us.”

It’s the same thing over at Tech Data Canada, where the business is now known as Enterprise has long been held under its Advanced Infrastructure Solutions (AIS) division, whilst the HP business is part of its volume or “Core” business.

“We’ve always worked with the two groups very differently when it comes to go-to-market,” Myers said.

Avnet Technology Solutions has a different perspective, with its focus making it just a partner on the Enterprise side. Still, in a statement provided to ChannelBuzz.ca, Avnet said HP “has been proactive in their communications” with the distributor about the transition.

“As a result, Avnet created a regular communication cadence throughout July highlighting the preparations and what partners can expect during the August 1-6 transition period,” the statement continues. “These regular partner communications and proactive follow-up with partners by the Avnet sales team members have prepared Avnet’s partners for the transition and helped partners pull in orders before the July month-end.”

Both Snider and Myers point out that the ability to keep shipments moving through this kind of logistical change or transition is another one of the perhaps-unsung values of working with distribution.