Understanding your distribution mix
The distribution mix is an important part of the marketing mix, ensuring that the right product gets to the right place at the right time. There are five major components in the distribution mix - inventory, warehousing, communication, unitization (including packaging) and transport. Each of these steps will involve different things depending on your type of business.
Being successful does not mean you need to be a distribution mix expert. You do need to see your business operation as a whole and understand how each part relates to the other, including the distribution mix. Establishing a supply chain team will improve customer service and increase profits. Communication across traditional boundaries to include external participants in the chain is integral to this concept. You will be able to create distribution mix that is effective, efficient, economical, and flexible. A flexible distribution mix will allow you to adapt to changes within your business or to external changes affecting your business, such as technology changes or rising transportation costs.
1. Gather distribution mix information pertinent to your business.
2. Obtain distribution mix advice through networking, professional organizations, and research.
3. Establish strong distribution mix management.
Create a distribution mix involving transportation and warehousingTransportation and warehousing will affect all aspects of your distribution mix. Regardless of whether you outsource these services or they are an internal part of your company, you should make sure communication lines are strong.
Identify inventory management needs in your distribution mixAccurate inventory management is crucial to business success and an important part of logistics.
Select appropriate technology (hardware and software) to enhance your distribution mixTechnology can change quickly. Making sure that not only your systems are up to date, but also those of the intermediaries you contract with is very important for efficiency and increased profitability.
- Your company will have different stages of growth. Remember to maintain the right mix of customer capture and retention as your company changes. Analyze your data periodically as this will affect your distribution mix.
- Thinking "outside the box" for ways to get your product to your customer can set you apart from your competition, but you must also understand your market, competition, finances and internal operations and how they relate to each other, and above all, your customer.