10 Ways to Evaluate Your Distribution Partner

how to evaluate distribution partner

The decision on any partner in your business is an important one. Choosing the right distribution partner to supply the key parts that keep your business running is a critical one.  Here are 10 areas you should consider in evaluating your stocking distribution partner:

  1. Breadth of knowledge of available products: Is your stocking distributor exposed to a wide range of options and therefore likely to know which one is best for your business? Your business requires a partner who has knowledge of the available products in the industry and a clear idea of why they have chosen the ones they stock and/or have supplier relationships with.
  2. Knowledge of product application: Does your stocking distributor know how products fit together to serve your specific business application? It’s not enough to know about what products are available, they need to know how these parts are applied to meet your use and need case. They should also know how different parts and services fit together to create turnkey stock distribution.
  3. Responsiveness: All the knowledge in the world isn’t worth much if it can’t be brought to bear on delivering solutions when you need it. Test this out by getting in contact with your proposed supplier and see how responsive they are with answering your queries. This will give you some sense of how they will act when you really need them.  To try us out, call us now and let’s discuss your needs!
  4. Innovation: No industry stands still anymore.  New solutions and approaches are constantly coming up and changes are accelerated by technology.  Not all innovations are good or will provide value for your business but you need a partner who has their finger on the pulse of innovation and can implement the right innovations for you when it makes sense.  Is your partner actively exploring new and modern ways of doing business to help deliver me maximum value?
  5. Cooperative attitude: When exploring partnerships that serve areas that keep your business running you need to build a climate of teamwork.  It’s easy to appear as part of the team when times are good, but how will your partner act when the chips are down and you need exemplary service to keep you running? One key indicator is whether your partner has a cooperative attitude in negotiation.  Is it adversarial or does your partner work with you to find the best solution? Do they appear to have your best interests at heart and value a long-term business relationship.
  6. Cost savings: Is your distribution partner passing on savings to you? Stocking distributors can leverage relationships with manufacturers and their large-scale purchases into discounts. Does your partner mark up these costs and sell the parts back to you or allow you to share in these savings?
  7. Reach: Does your distribution partner have the network to get you what you need where you need it? Your company may operate over a large geographical area with a wide range of customer industries: from remote mining sites to power lines in urban settings. The requirements to rapidly deliver to remote and difficult terrain can vary greatly.
  8. Scope of services: What parts of the engineering, procurement and construction process can your distribution partner help you complete? Can they help lead your project by pointing you towards reputable engineering and construction firms? Can they save you time and provide additional expertise by leading you through the planning and delivery process? While you may need an order taker in some situations, for new or complex projects, you may need a partner who can step up and show you the way.
  9. Size: Is your distribution partner big enough to have everything you need but small enough to be agile and responsive? There is a careful balance between having the necessary resources and processes in place and maintaining the flexibility and speed to deliver dependable service.
  10. Success stories: Does your distribution partner have a history of success and a growing base of repeat customers?  Ask for testimonials or look on their website to see what types of projects and customers your distribution partner works with. What types of strengths do you see? Do these match up with your needs?


Hopefully we’ve given you some helpful guidelines on evaluating your stocking distribution partner. To find out how we measure up, give us a call today at 1-888-551-4079 and let’s discuss!

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