Industry leaders in the Oil & Gas business sector may have a global network providing products and services to their customers. The local presence is often provided in part by a channel partner. A channel partner is a person or organisation that provides services or sells products on behalf of a software or hardware vendor.
Why have partnerships for control and safety systems?
Channel partnerships provide an opportunity for companies to promote certain products and services. In return, channel partners receive access to product and marketing training, discounts, technical support, lead generation tools and beta versions of releases.
This partnership forms a tight bond between the supplier and the channel partner. This means products are supported by the supplier in just the same way as the supplier themselves. Product warranties for the goods supplied through a channel partner are exactly the same as if they were supplied by the supplier. Warranties for products cover on-site support and return-to-base services and channel partners have direct access to the supplier’s technical resources. Indeed, this tight bond provides contractual obligations by the supplier to provide technical assistance if required from the project kick-off phase right through to the installation & commissioning phases, just as if the supplier themselves had won the project & was performing the project engineering.
What sort of warranty can you expect?
The warranty provided for these products is detailed in the product literature and price books. Extended warranties are available in just the same way, with the supplier providing the warranty through the channel partners contractual bonds.
These conditions are detailed in a contract that bonds the channel partner and the supplier together that covers all the supplier’s hardware and software. This is what makes a channel partner stand out from a distributor, a dealer, or trader.
When services are provided by the channel partner for e.g. project management and engineering, the channel partner is responsible for these services. The quality of these services is closely monitored by the supplier as the channel partner must prove that the services they provide when supplying goods from the supplier to end customers are of the same quality expected by the suppliers themselves. This makes the experience of buying from a channel partner transparent to the experience of buying direct from a supplier/manufacturer. Additionally, as channel partners are often closer to the customer geographically, buying from a channel partner provides a more local presence. Meetings can be personalised, factory or staging facilities are often just a short journey away, as is the pre- & post-sales support, and most importantly access to experienced and trained engineers.
Do channel partners have access to the same material as the OEM?
Channel partners have direct access to product support for warranty issues from the supplier, who provides a 24/7/365 support network. Channel partners also have direct access to the supplier’s factory facilities that provide expediated delivery services for emergencies. They also have access to the supplier’s research & development facilities that provide an insight into product lifecycles, improvements and enhancements that help to support a customer pre- & post-delivery. This includes access to the suppliers R&D engineers for Level 4 technical support.
Product lifecycles are further enhanced through the delivery of new software releases, using a series of enhanced lifecycle support services that are available from the channel partner in just the same way as from the software developer. All of these enhanced services are subscribed to by the customer from the channel partner with the full support of the software developer behind them.
Through Premium Services, a channel partner also receives direct access to product bulletins & field alerts. This allows the channel partner to provide pre-incident support by keeping engineers right up to date with the latest product news.
Through regular training from the supplier on the supplier’s products & services, the channel partner can help to maintain a customer’s installation by performing preventative maintenance and highlighting potential problems before they impact the customers production facilities.
In conclusion, using a channel partner provides a truly transparent buying and post-sales support experience for all products and services, just like buying from the supplier, but often with that local advantage that brings a personal touch.