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Supply Chain Distribution

By John R. Hall, writer
Jan 15, 2011
Image Credit: Shutterstock/FSStock
> Business Basics

Moving equipment and parts along a rapidly-changing supply chain and distribution channel

The supply chain and distribution channel is not your daddy's supply chain and distribution channel anymore.

In fact, today's distribution chain is facing unprecedented changes that pose challenges and rewards to all participants in the supply and distribution trade.

Partners all along the "traditional" distribution and supply chain channel are being challenged by new entrants into supply and distribution markets across many industries. The waters have been muddied by the Internet and the introduction of consumers and end-users into supply chain distribution.

Successful distribution and supply chain management is characterized by a solid organization featuring a centralized hub supported by satellite chain distributor. Picture it as the spokes of a wheel connected at the middle--the hub.

The "new" supply chain and distribution channel has several key components, which fall under the supply chain management "umbrella." These components include:

1. Distribution--the physical logistics of moving inventory along a chain of distribution.

2. Inventory management--the entities that control how much is moved and where it is stored.

3. Customers--identifying who the "real" customers are and keeping their loyalty despite all of the changes to the supply chain and distribution channel.

Plan the chain of distribution carefully

Manage your plan from within your chain, not from above. If you use statistics and historical data, you are not getting the whole picture. Talk to your partners and understand their needs using the traditional one-on-one approach.

Choose your distribution chain players

Who do you trust to make you successful? The answer should be your distributor partner. Not only is that partner a known commodity, but they can also provide business in the growing global market. Your newest partner could be half a world away, thanks to globalization and the new global economy.

Use supporting distribution chain management software

Technology has made supply chain management for distributors manageable and reliable. Supply chain management software helps in planning, projecting and implementing the chain of distribution.

  • Plan and implement a supply chain and distribution program, understanding the role of each player along the distribution channel, including the "new" global community and the changing face of end-users.
  • Research the tools and training needed to have a successful supply chain distribution strategy.
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John R. Hall
John R. Hall
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