This article was originally published in The Business News on August 29, 2022

It is no secret that the current state of the supply chain is in flux. Disruptions at all levels are causing a ripple effect of issues for businesses. From the outbreak of COVID-19 to the ongoing trade issues with China, there are many outside factors influencing the way businesses operate their day-to-day.

When it comes to disruptions in the supply chain, customers with direct-from-manufacturer relationships are feeling more impact than those that have distributors with warehouses who handle their inventory. Warehouses are the buffer between manufacturers and customers, and they play a critical role in keeping the supply chain running smoothly.

Warehouse distributors often have relationships with multiple manufacturers. This gives them the ability to source products from different suppliers if one supplier is unable to meet demand. By working with multiple suppliers, warehouse distributors can:

  • Find products that are in stock and can ship quickly
  • Offer alternatives to products that are out of stock or on backorder
  • Consolidate multiple shipments into one shipment to save on freight costs

Distributors are not only salespeople; they’re also problem solvers and solution providers. One of the biggest misconceptions customers have about working with warehouse distributors is that they will be less responsive to customer needs, when in fact they are often able to be more responsive than direct-from-manufacturer relationships. Distributors build business models around customer service and because they have access to multiple manufacturers’ inventories, they can find solutions that work best for their customers, not just what works best from one manufacturer.

If you’re not sure whether you need a distributor with a warehouse, here are some things to consider:

  • Do you have the storage space to handle inventory?
  • Do you have the staff to manage inventory and orders?
  • Are you able to ship orders quickly and efficiently?
  • Do you have access to multiple suppliers in case one is out of stock or on backorder?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, working with a distributor with a warehouse could be a good solution for your business. Distributors can provide the storage space, staff, and shipping infrastructure that many businesses need to operate efficiently.

If you’re still not sure if it’s right for you, reach out to a few different distributors and ask for their advice. They will be able to help you determine if working with a warehouse is a good solution for your business.