By: Rich Zsigray, Chief Operating Officer
Why would I purchase industrial equipment from a distributor? Is it not faster and less expensive to work directly with the manufacturer?
As a regional distributor of industrial equipment, this is a question that is often asked. At its surface, this is a fair inquiry. In a world continually focused on speed and efficiency with reduced costs, purchasing equipment directly from a manufacturer would seemingly offer the best of both worlds. However, this is not the case. Distributors continue to thrive in today’s competitive marketplace due to the advantages customers gain when working with them on projects.
While the relationship between distributors and manufacturers is multi-layered, the benefits of purchasing pumps, valves, and other industrial equipment through distributors breaks down into three key points.
1. Manufacturers Are Usually Not Set-up to Handle Direct Sales Efficiently
Manufacturers have facilities where they produce their goods and ship them all over the country or across the globe. In some cases, manufacturers strategically position facilities in multiple locations to expand their market share or break into new niches. At their core, manufacturers exist to produce goods and bring new products to the marketplace.
With a clear focus on the development, production, and shipment of goods in the market, manufacturers typically do not have the infrastructure or corporate resources to handle direct sales. Instead, many manufacturers opt to go through a distributor network as these distributors have the sole purpose of marketing their products to a local or regional customer base. With the benefit of having local or regional knowledge of customers and the business climate, distributors can stock just the right amount of products from the manufacturers for distribution. In turn, customers receive favorable pricing and the benefit of reduced lead times.
While manufacturers certainly have both outside account managers and inside sales personnel, these teams tend to be responsible for large geographic areas. Manufacturers utilize these two groups to support their distribution network. Many distributors, like Estabrook, have a dedicated sales team composed of both outside account managers and inside salespeople.
In essence, manufacturers and distributors excel in two different areas. Manufacturers position their businesses to develop and produce products that get sent to distributors who have a better pulse on local markets and can serve customers better.
2. Distributors Are More Responsive to Customers’ Needs
We have all heard the adage “time is money.” Since we live and work in a fast-paced world, we expect a quick turnaround on inquiries and grow frustrated with companies who are unresponsive. With the hundreds of thousands of businesses throughout the United States, it is not feasible (or possible!) for manufacturers to handle all these inquiries from customers. Customers would experience long delays, and manufacturers would be stretched-thin with their capacity as the workload would be too great to manage daily.
Instead of proceeding down this path, businesses work with each manufacturers’ distribution network. These networks are more established and have the expertise to handle all inquiries from customers. Being part of a manufacturer’s distribution network also allows distributors to relay inquiries to the manufacturer if questions arise that require more direct information about a product.
Estabrook is proud to be the exclusive regional distributor for ITT Goulds Pumps, serving parts of Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania. Our partnership with ITT Goulds Pumps in their distribution network, coupled with our team’s expert knowledge of their products, positions us as a strong and capable partner for companies purchasing industrial pumps. In conjunction with our industrial pump offerings, Estabrook is also a leading distributor of industrial equipment, such as valves, actuators, and sealing devices, from a vast array of manufacturing partners.
Estabrook Sales Territories:
A distributor’s main job is to market a manufacturer’s products and to provide the best experience as it relates to response time, communication, and overall service to customers. Distributors work to forge strong relationships with customers to understand their unique businesses and their evolving needs from project-to-project.
3. Customers Are the Principal Focus of Distributors
Estabrook has been in business for over 55 years, and our commitment to deliver Total System Solutions with quality products and services to our customers has never ceased. This commitment to our customers highlights another benefit to partnering with distributors like Estabrook.
A distributor’s outside account managers serve specific regions within a sales territory. Dedicated individuals on an inside sales team support these account managers. Both groups work towards the distributor’s common goal, which is to provide the best customer service to its customer base. Smaller, localized distributors can serve and respond to customer needs better than large national or global manufacturers.
At Estabrook, our customer-first culture traces back to the origins of our family-owned business, which still exists today with the second generation leaders. Today and back in 1965, our team understands that customers are the key to our success and that they deserve the best service, guidance, and support when working with us.
Distributors apply their immense knowledge and expertise of manufacturers’ products to each customer’s application or project. Every solution with industrial equipment is unique and requires special attention. Account managers and additional stakeholders (e.g., application engineers and parts coordinators) form positive relationships with customers with each new project. Plus, with distributors focused on a specific region, the same team works with the same customer with each endeavor.This continuity boosts trust, confidence, and overall efficiency in completing the projects.
The Bottom Line
The reality is that it takes both a strong manufacturer and a committed distributor to serve its customer base. As manufacturers produce goods, provide support, and bring new products and innovations to the marketplace, distributors will continue to market these products and provide superior service.
Estabrook is committed to strong communication, quick turnaround on inquiries, and keeping our customers up to date on their projects. With our diversified inventory of industrial equipment from a variety of manufacturers, we can consult with you to create the best solution for your business. Get in touch with us today to start your project.
Interested in working with Estabrook on a project? Please contact us today.