Distributors are needed in today's market more than ever before. The changing economy has resulted in companies downsizing and many employees having to wear more than one hat. This can lead to less-than-satisfactory results for buyers when searching for a product. Calling on an expert who has a thorough knowledge of a particular market combined with a logistical background regarding all transport modes can be a great solution. A distributor's expertise can help to keep a company running smoothly and to stay in the black.

The successful distributor provides its contracted suppliers the opportunity to be stakeholders in modern, cost-effective marketing efforts. Distributors are as old as the chemical industry, but distributor-supplier mutual partnerships are much different because they successfully work with suppliers, not only keeping them fully aware of the customer base, but also of daily market activities. The professional distributor completes market forecasts and provides the information necessary to make its stakeholder suppliers fully aware of their market positions. An effective distributor will provide information regarding the raw materials that its key suppliers purchase.

A tighter economy often means downsizing. Downsizing can cause employees to take on several different and unfamiliar jobs. The result is wasted time and energy that could be better spent on lowering prices and on quality research. A good distributor specializes in certain products or has an entire department devoted to a specific product. This focused approach allows the distributor to remain informed and to keep abreast of any changes in the market. A one-on-one connection with transportation companies allows a distributor to build solid relationships with providers of the best and most economical mode of delivery. The company that utilizes the distributor's services benefits from these relationships. Distribution is a service business and should be treated as such. Top-notch personal service from a distributor should be an expectation.

The world in which we now live demands higher security and tighter regulations. The protection of human health and the environment should be the top priority of a distributor. This translates into more flexibility and a top-notch emergency support system. A reputable distributor will know the current product-handling safety laws and be a stickler for seeing that they are followed to the letter. To back this up, an emergency support system needs to be in place. A distributor should be able to be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without exception. The worry concerning a product delivery should not be on the shoulders of the company hiring a distributor. The worry is handed off the moment a distributor is hired. The distributor should have the flexibility to follow through with details such as knowledge of certifications. A company using a distributor should check credentials, such as ISO or Responsible Care certification.

In summary, a successful distributor will cater to its customers' needs through specialization, flexibility, knowledge and 24-hour support. Equally solid relationships need to be established between the distributor and its suppliers, resulting in optimal pricing and service for the customer. The benefits of using a distributor become clear when manpower is best utilized and results are clearly relevant to the bottom line.

For further information, contact Patricia Pereira, 401/423.3100; fax 401/423.3102; e-mail patti@thechemco.com.

Checklist for Hiring a Distributor

1. Personal service with skilled and continuously trained employees

2. Emergency support service 24/7/365

3. Established relationships

4. Product knowledge

5. Logistical experts

6. Advanced support systems

7. Flexibility

8. Regulations expert

9. Communications system

10. References