Ask the Board – July 13, 2020 | JOSEPH McQUEEN


“Do you have a plan in place if your display manufacturer either goes out of business or quits providing certain parts?”

This is a very real situation given the rapid change in screen technology. We see the same in other parts of our technology services portfolio, so we have taken steps to prevent this from happening.

We’re addressing this is a number of ways:

  • Bulk ordering: Instead of purchasing screens as needed, we do annual planning and perform a bulk purchase. This accomplishes a number of goals – better pricing due to volume, annual consistency in our screen inventory, and spares in our own warehouses.
  • Lifecycle replacements: As our systems age and we see more failures, we proactively replace the walls. This is done in conjunction with our sparing, so as our spares are depleted (planning for age), we can replace them as we remodel/rebuild our stores.
  • Constant review: We review our fleet annually to support purchasing efforts and to stay ahead of failures. This allows us to pivot quickly to a new manufacturer if one goes out of business as well as to monitor our spares inventory to understand when we would need to do a full replacement.
  • We own it: Instead of allowing our vendors to make the technology choices for us, we own the decision of what we’ll install. This prevents fragmentation of strategy and gives us the ability to move forward consistently while preparing for unseen issues.

We had a major supplier of outdoor LED quit supporting a number of their products a few years ago. Due to our own sparing strategy and great partnerships with maintenance vendors, we’ve weathered the storm for a few years and can see the path through a few more years until we decide to make the large investment of replacement.

With our strategy, I have very few concerns if a specific vendor were to go out of business or quit providing specific parts. There has always been constant vigilance on keeping technology current and supportable within IT, and we’ve brought our same lessons to Audio Visual Technologies.

About Author

Senior Manager of Network Services
American Eagle Outfitters

End User Council

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