Distributor vs. Manufacturer

June 15th, 2017

Who to Invite?

 

Today’s post is by Robert Rice, Account Manager at SafeSourcing.

Distributors have been selling products and equipment since the early days of the industrial revolution, but are they still the best choice for companies in pursuit of products?  The answer is sometimes and here’s why…

Typically, full service, distributors make their name by providing excellent, personal service to their customers.  In most cases, they work a small territory and are “local” to the companies they serve.  They usually offer 24/7 service and have emergency spare parts and consumables on hand.  Full service distributors are in the business of developing relationships with their customers.

The same is true when purchasing commodities.  In most cases there is more than one manufacturer who offers a product capable of satisfying your application for a fair price.  In the end, you probably purchase your equipment from someone you have developed a relationship with or from someone you can see yourself developing a relationship with.  In most cases, a distributor fits the bill due to their locale and ability, and willingness, to service you.

Most manufacturers are engineering and manufacturing focused.  Typically they do not specialize in sales and service.  This is not a bad thing, however.  Manufacturers are expected to spend their efforts on developing great products.  They are the pioneers of innovation, and all of us depend on them.  This is not to say that they have no place selling or servicing their products.  It is important for them to be involved in understanding the marketplace and issues with their products.  But from the end-user point of view, manufacturers’ efforts are not always apparent.  Although very critical, their efforts are typically behind the scenes in R&D.  It can be difficult for an end-user to develop a sales/service relationship with an organization that operates with an engineering and manufacturing focus. But not so fast…..

Unless you work with SafeSourcing, although a lot of what I said above is true, it is still possible to work and purchase from both manufacturers and distributors. The keys are who are you speaking with and what you are purposing. At SafeSourcing, we engage both, why? Because some manufacturers see the benefits to selling directly to our clients, while some distributors cannot meet all needs and visa versus. The SafeSourcing staff asks the key questions and talk to the right people to determine who is best fit for our clients. This vetting process saves our clients time and money and getting what they want at a considerably lower cost.  And you can still develop a strong and long-term relationship with either.

To sum it up, manufacturers and distributors do play specific roles in the purchasing process, but not reaching out to both could affect your bottom line.

Robert Rice is an Account Manager at SafeSourcing. Robert or any member of the experienced team at SafeSourcing would be happy to discuss how SafeSourcing can help you with your eProcurement planning. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to your comments.

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