Channel urged to charge for delivery

The channel is frequently advised by vendors to charge for deliveries as part of its valued services to customers and that may now become more prevalent as continually rising fuel prices hit profits. PC giant Dell charges customers for delivery and rival Hewlett-Packard has often told its partners

The channel is frequently advised by vendors to charge for deliveries as part of its valued services to customers and that may now become more prevalent as continually rising fuel prices hit profits.

PC giant Dell charges customers for delivery and rival Hewlett-Packard has often told its partners that they should follow suit instead of swallowing transport costs.

In the US, Tech Data CEO Bob Dutkowsky said increasing oil and petrol prices had hit the distributor's bottom line in the last quarter and would be a problem that was here to stay.

"We ship $70m (£35m) of products every day and most of that goes by truck, but as the price of gas goes up the price for us to do business goes up and that's going to impact our business in the short term and the long term," he said.

The price of petrol in the UK has soared above £1 per litre and Graeme Watt, European president at Bell Micro, said: "This is a rising cost for all organisations."

He added: "We need to review if we are charging enough of our customers for freight or if the charges are high enough".

Stewart Fenton, Insight president for EMEA, said the company paid a fuel surcharge to couriers each month.

"Rising prices on fuel certainly means you are more compelled to charge clients for freight, which is something they typically consider should be free," he told MicroScope.

As costs, particularly transport, continue to rise and the margin on the box falls, "the challenge is how to charge for a service that customers think is free," said SCC's Andy Wright, volume partner director.

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