Distributors Uncensored

The making of a Best-in-Class Supplier

In a random, anonymous survey, GAWDA distributors were asked, “What bothers you most about your relationship with your manufacturers and suppliers?” Their responses:

“The manufacturers only seem to cater to big distributors who do a high volume with them.”

“Stop selling direct. Manufacturers should not compete with their distributors.”

“Manufacturers should discourage discounted pricing, especially online. How can we compete when they’re selling 10 percent below cost?”

“Suppliers have gone too thin on outside coverage. How is one rep supposed to cover seven states?”

  • What does it really cost to make your product?
  • What are your profit margins?
  • Am I getting the best price?
  • How are you pricing me compared to my competitor?
  • Are you giving better pricing or terms to the mega-distributors?
  • Why isn’t your company more attentive to small distributors?
  • How willing are you to work with buying groups?
  • How is it that the major gas suppliers always seem to raise prices by the same amount at the same time?
  • Why are there so many surcharges on your product?
  • Why do you sell through big-box stores?
  • Why do you sell direct?
  • What are your future plans for selling direct versus working with distributors?
  • How much of your product comes from overseas?
  • What goes into hiring your factory reps?
  • Who really makes the decisions there?

“Manufacturers treat me like an account number rather than a customer.”

“There’s no respect for the longevity we have with some of our manufacturers.”

“Limit distribution! If everybody on the street has a product, then there’s no value in us having it.”

“We only ever see sales reps from our manufacturers. I’d like to see the top dogs once in a while too.”

“Sometimes it takes much, much longer to get an answer from the factory than it should.”

“Too many of the manufacturers’ upper management are professional managers, not welding people. They don’t understand the industry.”

“We show our manufacturers loyalty, but we don’t feel like they’re showing us the same.”

“Everything these days seems to be assembled in the USA, not made here.”

“Different reps in different parts of the country give us different prices on different days. Why can’t it be onsistent?”

“There’s so much turnover now, thanks to all the consolidation, that it’s getting harder to form lasting elationships.”

“Phone menus are a nuisance. I want to talk to a real, live person.”

“Problems should be resolved quickly. There’ve been times when I’ve had to wait a year to resolve a problem with an invoice. A year!”

“When they started selling through the big-box stores, they pretty much turned their backs on all the distributors ho had built those products’ brand recognition.”

Gases and Welding Distributors Association