By Duncan Faithfull
The word ‘partnership’ is thrown around a little bit during times when the business environment is straight forward. It is often referred to when writing strategic plans and PR, but the real meaning of partnership in business is only really established in times when we are challenged. It is easy to be a good ‘partner’ when the market is growing, and difficult choices are not required to be made.
When markets struggle, as ours has for the last 12 months, it is a time for true partnerships to be tested, and where decisions have to be made which enable business to continue in the short term, but with an eye on future growth when markets ease.
A great example of this is how our supply chain dealt with the sudden, and extensive, market closures of operators across the world. When our client ‘partners’ had sudden and severe cash flow challenges, meaning payment for our products could not happen, we were faced with two choices: firstly; to stop supply and to chase payment hard or, secondly; measure the impact on our own cash reserves if we kept supplying, and creating flexible payment solutions to allow our partners to keep manufacturing in readiness for the future. Neither of these choices would have been wrong, but our chosen path allowed our partners to continue to focus on creating great game content, safe in the knowledge that critical hardware would be available for these to be developed on when the markets reopened, enabling them to stay ‘ahead of the game’ in readiness for a brighter future.
This is the essence of partnership. Working towards common goals and shared long-term objectives, even when there may be a potentially negative impact in the short term. At Quixant, we saw the strategic benefits of working openly and transparently with our partners, even when the conversations were potentially tough to have. We believe that this approach has further strengthened our relationships, and trust, which will best position everyone for future growth.
These are easy statements to make as a supplier, but it’s the view of our partners which matter to us at Quixant. Below are a couple of examples of what our strategic partners think of the approach to the challenges of 2020. When approached, this is what Ryan Comstock, COO at Ainsworth and Dean Ehrlich, Executive Vice President & Games Business Leader at Everi said about the importance of our partnership:
“Quixant has been a partner of Ainsworth for many years, but 2020 showed the true meaning, and value, of our partnership. At a time when our customers’ venues were closed and everyone was working to manage cash flow through the pandemic, Quixant presented us with a payment solution which allowed us to concentrate on running our business, and to focus on growth post-pandemic, benefiting both organizations through 2021 and beyond. While undoubtedly a challenging year, 2020 further strengthened our relationship with Quixant, as their forward thinking and innovative attitude demonstrated the true value of effective partnership.”
Ryan Comstock; Chief Operating Officer, Ainsworth Game Technology
“2020 was a challenging and uncertain time for Everi and the entire gaming community, as our end markets were severely impacted by pandemic-related restrictions. As a result, we had to carefully manage our cash flow , and Quixant was very responsive to the situation. Together, we were able to collaboratively work to manage the challenges, enabling us to maintain an eye to the horizon and the growth prospects beyond. Our partnership with Quixant is an important relationship to us, and together we look to a successful future.”
Dean Ehrlich; Executive Vice President & Games Business Leader, Everi
As we jumped into 2021, we hoped that things would get easier, but the impact of the pandemic continues. Venues are opening slowly across the world, but with continued sudden lockdowns in many markets, it is making it tough for manufacturers to commit to investing in R&D. Alongside this uncertainty, the market is now experiencing severe critical component shortages, making hardware stock availability extremely difficult to plan and guarantee.
So, going through 2021, what does ‘being a good partner’ mean for hardware suppliers to game manufactures?
Commercial Flexibility – Offering flexible payment terms, and new commercial models like hardware leasing solutions, to free up capital so it can be invested in game design and running day to day operations. Quixant has a leasing model developed for Strategic Account Partners allowing OPEX based investment in ultimate gaming hardware to continue.
Supply Chain Flexibility – Being able to respond to market demand this year when it returns is critical to success. Having stock available of critical hardware is essential to games getting to market as quickly as possible. Quixant offer a range of supply chain solutions including vendor managed inventory (VMI) solutions, where stock is held in our partners’ warehouses, but on our balance sheet, meaning stock lead time is 10 minutes, and not 10 weeks which has proved a true market advantage for our partners.
Joint Product Lifecycle Management– Ensuring true transparency of cabinet strategy and hardware platform, monitor and accessory development. This means that critical components can be strategically sourced and purchased for long term availability, proactively addressing the component shortage challenges we are seeing today.
Innovative Product Solutions – Enabling our partners to create market leading games is our reason for being. Quixant’s hardware solutions cater for all budgets; all power and output requirements; and include everything from hardware gaming platforms to advanced monitors; and from interactive button decks to full ‘off the shelf’ cabinet solutions. We want to take away the challenges of component and hardware availability from our partners, so they can spend their time focusing on creating and distributing brilliant games.
Stability. Security. Support. – Trusting that your solutions will perform every time is more important than ever. Game availability and reliability is critical as venues reopen and customer demand picks up. We believe true partnership is constantly collaborating to ensure the gaming experience is excellent. Quixant not only prides itself in developing quality products, but in the support offered when it is required. We offer global support, excellent partnership management and we always have additional stock on hand for our customers ready to be deployed as required, ensuring every game is available whenever a consumer wants to play it.
To us partnership means continual and excellent communication and collaboration to achieving a common goal – which is particularly pertinent in the current climate.
Globally. Creatively. Strategically. Technologically, there are no limits with Quixant