Both sides of the fence
If inventory management was a tug o’ war, who do you think is winning the battle? Resellers or Suppliers?
Who owns the order book, who owns the end user and who owns the brand? Did you ever stop to think that we might be battling each other for the same territory?
Resellers and suppliers are both under constant pressure to:
Sometimes we forget to acknowledge that we both want the same thing. Coming from a reseller background I am guilty of blaming suppliers for loading me up with too much stock even though I approved the order.
“They made me buy more just to get it at a competitive price”
”I didn’t understand the conference deal and I now am stuck with it”
“The seasonal conditions changed, and they won’t take it back”
As resellers, we often set an agenda for our suppliers that only reflects the outcomes we want to achieve. We fail to recognise how far the rubber band can stretch before it breaks.
By aligning our agendas, everyone in the supply chain will win when we acknowledge each other’s needs and expectations.
In my previous life in reseller land we implemented a code of conduct to outline how we wanted the supplier’s sales reps to engage with our business. This is an effective method to build meaningful, long-lasting and productive relationships. We won, the supplier won, and our clients won too. Winners all round.
As a reseller we are the client in this relationship, but we should constantly remind ourselves of what we dislike most about our clients when they place unreasonable demands on us to meet their expectations.
Code of Conduct
Here are some examples on how a supplier can add further value to their retail client relationships.
Annual Performance Reviews
What would happen if you introduced annual ‘relationship’ reviews on each other?
Reseller: “What would you like us to START doing and STOP doing to ensure our support of your brand grows?”
Supplier: “What would you like us to START doing and STOP doing to ensure your support of our brand grows?”
The achievement of meeting each other’s goals will be made so much easier when your agendas become aligned.
Working with each other to plan and forecast seasonal requirements and to agree on a robust inventory protection plan that suits both parties is a vital piece of the puzzle that provides your reseller with confidence and comfort around increasing their level of support for your brand.
I can recall two examples involving an ‘A’ grade supplier rep and a ‘D’ grade supplier rep.
The ‘A’ grader treated us with respect, met our needs and modelled our supplier code of conduct. His brand was not the cheapest but his commitment to support our business sold the product. Our purchases and sales increased due to the level of after-sales support he provided our clients.
The ‘D’ grader was appropriately classified due to his stubbornness in not acknowledging us as his client and openly viewing our business as a necessary evil to get his product to the end user market.
The ‘A’ grade rep became our business partner and the ‘D’ grade rep remained as an unsuccessful product peddler.
It doesn’t have to be a tug o’ war. Put the rope down and respect both sides of the fence.