Distributors and retailers are the link between the firm and the actual customers who consume the product. In your capacity as a manager you are responsible for ensuring regular supplies to your distributors. Persistent delays in processing and supplying distributor’s order can lead to a situation where the distributor eventually loses interest in your product and switches over to a competitor firm. Timely supplies have their relevance provided they are as per the order specification. Supplying spoons instead of forks, simply because forks are out of stock in the factory, is not a responsible way of dealing with your distributors.
The products that you supply to the distributor must be checked for quality to ensure that second grade or inferior quality goods are not shipped. Outer packaging of the product should protect it from damage in transit,. because the dealer will return all spoilt and damaged stock which will eventually reflect negatively in your profits. A company manufacturing and marketing plastic bottles switched over from 5-ply to 7-ply cardboard carton when it started receiving complaints that the bottles were being dented and crushed out of shape in transit. The company. had to absorb the increased cost of the heavier carton, but it was more than compensated by the fact that return of stock sharply declined and the distributors had no more cause for complaints. A television marketing company provides service engineers to all its outstation distributors for testing each TV before it is despatched onwards for sale. This adds an extra cost but ensures that the distributors and retailers receive sets which are trouble-free.
The distributors and retailers who sell your products are in it for business and they ‘must earn a fair return. Apart from the fixed percentage which you provide to your dealers, target based incentives, commissions and rewards will motivate your dealers to push your products harder. Providing support to the dealers by way of extending credit, sharing promotion cost, after sales service and help for decorating the showroom also form part of your responsibility. You must also nurture and maintain cordial relationship with all your dealers. Many companies hold regular dealer meets in an attempt to build up dealer relations for better corporate gains.