What if the Cleaning Products Supply Chain Weakens?
This is something that I have begun to think a lot around.
Our industry works best with collaboration, knowledge sharing and facilitation across all of the links in the supply chain.
What happens when individual links in the supply chain diminish, weaken, withdraw services and support, or try to take on the role of another?
What do I mean?
What if manufacturers and/or distributors shift more of their selling activity to an inside sales model and deemphasize having outside sales representatives (feet on the street)?
What happens if it is far more lucrative and cost effective to only feature the top selling items as a common offering widely available through some of the mass ecommerce/marketplace platforms or catalogue houses?
What if a distributor tries to take on the role of a manufacturer (for example, sourcing private label products) or a service provider tries to go direct with a manufacturer bypassing the distributor?
With the loss of revenue or margin and specialization within a link, do we lose application knowledge, field training and the ability for in-service support? What happens with changes in sales models i.e., less outside sales representatives and more inside sales or ecommerce platforms? Does the industry diminish and weaken without field resources?
Who will do the on-site assessments? Who will do the product and application training? Who will go on-site and help with problem solving?
Will these become things that are an add on fee or cost from a manufacturer or a distributor?
Will an independent agency step into the void on the basis of a user pay model?
As everyone strives for efficiencies and cost savings, do we risk a loss of what makes our industry function?
I wonder …