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Internet Orientation Project

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In the article, 'Are distributors going the extra mile?', the author relays her findings of a survey she initiated. The questions were posed to 2,000 people in the purchasing profession and sought to determine whether or not distributors were 'committed to relationships' (Avery 51) with buyers.
The key areas discussed were: order-handling efficiency, customer service, handling of delivery and lead-time issues, understanding the cost issues, technical support, relationships with manufacturers, geographic range of service, and electronic commerce capability. The discoveries made were closely related to my own opinions of distributors.
Having worked with distributors for the past two years I have discovered that they are not in tune with the individual needs of a company. They seem to have a higher than average turn over rate which tends to degrade the level of customer service, as well as technical advice. The unfamiliarity of the product they are dealing with is a big drawback. Their inability to recognize their products pricing and margin structure deteriorates the ability of the representative to offer other low cost substitute items.
The new purchasing environment consists of trying to have the parts on the floor when needed, not too early, and never late. Extra stock ends up in inventory, and although labeled as an asset in the books, it is actually a liability. This drives the agent to search for creative ways to control materials. One key way to accomplish this is to utilize distributors that are 'committed to long ...

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