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Leading Edge Management Consultancy Limited

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Distribution channels and supply and where to reach your customers

Manufacturers used to be small and fragmented and they sold their products to middlemen who distributed them to the end customers. As markets matured, manufacturers grew larger and used the same middlemen to break-bulk and distribute their products.

This was a linear process, and so the manufacturer was distanced from the end-customer. These types of supply chain still exist. And since manufacturers are not directly in touch with the end-customers, this inhibits product improvement and major innovation.

If you are a manufacturer you will need to get closer to your end-users. You will need to understand what your end-users motivations are, why they buy, what they buy, and where they buy it from. But, it isnt easy to be objective. We can help you to interpret what consumers, trade users and direct customers are saying. This helps you to align your offering to their needs.

We review the market for a particular product or service through systematic analysis against competitor offerings, to spot opportunities and potential threats. This will help both with new product development and product promotion.

Case Study - supply chains

But the market is changing. Building Success lessons from suppliers and manufacturers who got it right, was researched and published by Leading Edge for Constructing Excellence and the Construction Products Association in the spring of 2004. It highlights the new ways that some construction products producers are being integrated into the construction process early on in the project. This helps develop innovative ways of delivering high quality and best value projects.

By using a case study research method we found examples of suppliers being brought in at the design stage of a project. Some contractors were working with manufacturers in a much more integrated way, and one contractor completely outsourced all their purchasing. A crucial factor across all these studies is the importance of finding project partners with common values and goals.

Key learning points were put together as lessons for others to follow. One of the benefits of bringing suppliers in at an early stage was their better understanding of the technical side of their products. This can save time and money. Another issue is planning time. Many said that everyone was too anxious to get on site quickly which meant they had no chance to work out the most cost-effective solution, or to even understand what the client really wanted.

When suppliers and manufacturers are involved with other members of the team at an early stage in a project, the chances are that it will run more smoothly because everyone understands the issues.

What our clients have said when using us for Distribution Channel consultancy:

  • "Understand the market place and present information well"
  • "John Pratt seemed to listen, understand and react rapidly and accurately to a slightly off-beat job"

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