By Edward Johnson
Major retailers like Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Pet Center may not work with your company if you don’t have a partnership with one or more major distribution centers. Reason for this is that major retailers carry thousands, some millions, of different products. If these retailers had to buy 10 or more products from 10,000 different companies, they wouldn’t have time to focus on marketing, public relations, interior design and employee development.
By partnering with major distribution centers, you could tackle two retail challenges. You could get dozens, hundreds or more of your products in dozens of stores in a matter of minutes. The best distribution centers also stock and ship products direct to customers.
To get started with a distribution center, your business needs to have enough products. If your business only develops or manufactures one product, distribution centers might be shy about taking you on. Types of products that your business sells also need to have a shelf life, meaning that the products can endure several days of sitting in storage. Additionally, as someone partnering with distribution centers, you have to keep manufacturing enough volume in product to fulfill customer orders.
The last thing distribution centers want to do is tell retailers they work with that popular products are out of stock. Plainly, telling retailers they can’t have what they want isn’t a good way for distribution centers to build long-term rewarding relationships.
Just as leaders at distribution centers are choosy, you should be too. After all, every distribution center doesn’t provide the right services that you need as a manufacturer or retailer. As a manufacturer, you could be better off partnering with large facilities, centers that cover shipping and handling and that give manufacturers and retailers access to online tracking systems.
You’re also going to want to work with distribution centers that keep costs down. To be cost effective, distribution centers ship products by the truck load. In addition to having shipping and docking areas, the best distribution centers also have export, quality assurance, inventory tracking and management and packing areas. Ask about visiting distribution centers you’re interested in developing a partnership with before you ink a deal. Pay attention to the types of products the centers specialize in. Also, find out which major retailers the centers work with.