Packard Bell-NEC will initiate a worldwide direct sales program later this year while maintaining its network of resellers.
In addition, customers buying computers through the direct program will have the option of receiving installation and support through an Packard Bell-NEC reseller.
The NEC Now sales model will give business customers the option of buying their systems directly from NEC or through its traditional network of resellers. Customers can also "integrate" direct purchases with service and support from resellers, avoiding some of the disadvantages of the direct sales model.
Direct sales offer computers at lower prices to buyers, but some major companies still buy through resellers because they cannot obtain the same kind of service and support when buying directly from the manufacturer.
Packard Bell-NEC's plans to move to a new sales strategy were first reported in June by CNET's NEWS.COM.
The NEC Now program will focus mainly on small to medium-sized businesses and Fortune 1,000 companies. Government and education customers will also be able to buy products directly.
Customer orders will be fulfilled from Packard Bell-NEC's plant in Sacramento, California, and Fife, Washington, where the company's notebook computer facility can handle built-to-order units.
The Packard Bell-NEC sales force will be doubled over the next few quarters to support the new strategy.