From what I have seen recently, the company is focused on increasing efficiency in manufacturing, tech support, and on-sites. Over the next few months, they are making, or have already made the following changes:
1) Customers MUST have serial # available before even getting in to talk to a tech. This cuts several minutes off each call, and makes each technical support rep. more productive during their shift. In the past, people who were out of warranty, or who even did not own Systemax computers would get through, and it took time to discern this, wasting up to 5 minutes or so per call.
2) Manufacturing has become much more lean, and faster. Most of the recent workforce reductions were due to greatly increased efficiency on the manufacturing lines, which are more highly automated now. This will allow faster turnaround time during high volume periods, and actually decrease human error. (face it, repetitive tasks are not exactly our strong point anyway)
3) They have also cut out redundant sales positions. In the past, Systemax would bid on large contracts with teams from several of its daughter companies. The thinking was that their chance of getting the contract was increased if they had more bids on it. What actually happened was that the folks evaluating the contracts found out that these daughter companies all were part of Systemax, and figured that the right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing. Therefore, Systemax actually ended up getting fewer contracts due to this. In the future, having less redundancy in the sales force, coupled with the change in sales tactics, should provide increased profits.
4) Systemax recently changed their tech support to 4 10 hour days, instead of 5 8 hour days. They also instituted a third shift, allowing them to have tech support staff 24 hours a day. Previously, nighttime calls were farmed out to Sikes, for around 4 million dollars per month. Now that the calls will be taken internally, most of this amount will become profit.
5) Systemax is strongly considering a new partner for their on-site repairs. Too many customers have complained about problems with the repair service in their homes, including numerous instances of never even having a technician show up. This reflects on the company, so finding a new, more efficient partner will greatly enhance customer satisfaction.
6) Recently, the company switched from paying nearly all shipping costs on items returned for repair, or "likely" defective items returned for replacement. In the past, millions of dollars a year were given to UPS and other shippers to go out and pick up items. From now on, this will only happen for the first 30 days of ownership of a system. After that time, any shipping costs will be the responsibility of the customer.
7) In the past month, a focus on telephone troubleshooting has led to a decline in necessary on-site repairs of systems. At the same time, this has also increased the knowledge that customers have on their systems, since they often are now opening up the system and troubleshooting their own pc's. Both of these factors should lead to a long term decline in the number of on-site repairs needed, and again, lead to greater profitability.