Global Fastener News

2007 FIN – How to Improve the Distributor/Supplier Relationship

December 11
00:00 2012

2007 FIN – How to Improve the Distributor/Supplier Relationship

November 1, 2007 FIN – “Understand our business,” distributor Don Nowak of Falcon Metal Corp. suggested to fastener manufacturers. “Don’t talk just price points. Take costs out of the channel.”
A panel of distributors offered advice from their own experiences during a session on “The Distributor – Supplier Relationship” at the National Fastener Distributors Association autumn meeting in Chicago.
Nowak noted that a distributor may have 300 suppliers, but a real partnership with only five.
Part of partnering is “helping us be more cost effective. It is not the piece price but the total cost. The goal is taking cost out of the channel.”
Jim Ruetz of All Fasteners Inc. emphasized “communication, communication and communication” as the key to the distributor supplier relationship. Suppliers should remember they have “two ears and one mouth.”
Mark Shannon of Tower Fasteners Co. advised suppliers to “sell to the entire company. There are three levels of management and each level has different needs.”
Bill Derry of Field Fastener Supply Co. pointed out that suppliers to distributors have the same problems as suppliers to manufacturers. Business problems are business problems, Derry pointed out. Distributors have the same issues as customers of manufacturers as OEMs have as customers of distributors.
Derry finds delivery information to be vital in the distributor/supplier relationship. “We make commitments to customers.”
Suppliers need to say “no” to an order they can’t meet, Nowak said.
Barry Porteous of Porteous Fastener Co. added that the entire channel needs to be aware of the ultimate consumer.

Speaker Jason Bader of The Distribution Team said key measures of a sales pro are follow-through, consistency, technical product knowledge, problem solving, advocacy for the customer and enthusiasm.
Bader, a former president of the Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association, described the ‘shmo’ as one who just drops literature and doesn’t respect time, makes social calls, spread rumors, pushes the wrong products, sells direct, is not accountable, is too pushy and won’t do specification work.
• In a survey of NFDA distributors, Bader found 76% wanted field reps to understand what it takes to be a valuable partner.
• Bader found many fastener distributors have developed VMI programs with customers, but “haven’t quite made that jump back up the supply chain.”
• Distributors don’t want just sales calls from suppliers. They want reps to “teach people who work for me.” • • Quality is the #1 issue with distributors. If there is a problem, “fix it” Bader emphasized.
• Suppliers need to help control costs.
Bader noted the survey found that for 61% of NFDA distributors buying is a “group decision.” Web: ©2007/2012 Fastener Industry News
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