Collaboration and Line Walks Key to Supplier and Distributor Sales GrowthLeave a Comment
By Steve Urhausen, President, All American Systems
For real and meaningful sales growth to take place, collaboration, cooperation and trust between the supplier and the distributor is extremely important.
This is why line walks and joint sales visits with supply chain partners at the end user are so vital that they are included in distributor rebate and purchase agreements. This allows both the distributor and supplier to get a better understanding of the project, processes, and to solve problems the end users are seeking help for.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen as often as it should. Distributors will often go to their supplier for a solution without providing all of the necessary detail to find the best solution. If suppliers don’t know the end product, that typically means the solution they provide is based on the limited information that has been provided to them.
Understanding that there is confidential information, it is quite common for us to execute non-disclosure agreements to work towards an improved solution that benefits all parties involved.
When working with a distributor at an OEM during a line walk, I witnessed a cumbersome assembly for a rivet nut, with the installer reaching for a machined washer to put under the head of the rivet nut prior to the installation. The washer served to raise the head of the rivet nut up just enough that the gasket which was applied to this outdoor housing would not be crushed during final assembly.
Looking for a better solutions and explaining the details to the Sherex team, they were able to manufacture a taller profile head that acted as a spacer in the application thereby eliminating the extra machined washer. This saved cost, the need to manage another part number, increased throughput on that assembly line, and reduced worker fatigue. This resulted in over seven years of sales with over over 600,000 parts sold.
Real sales growth occurs for both parties when the supplier and distributor work together to improve an assembly method or fastener joint resulting in the lowest total installed cost and improved performance of the end product. Both the supplier and distributor gains the respect of the end user, more profit, and more opportunities for additional projects. This improves and solidifies the supply channel while elevating sales experience above the “commodity mentality.” Win-Win!
About Steve Urhausen:
Steve has 43 years in the fastener industry and 25 years as owner of All American Systems. His work experience with importers, distributors, and manufacturers has helped him understand the “right fit” philosophy when trying to match a supplier to a customer. As a sales manager of two different companies, Steve was exposed to sales reps where he learned to respect and appreciate the value that they brought to suppliers and customers. Over the last 25 years as an independent rep has taught him humility, the value of hard work, and that follow through and communication are critical to success!