Real Issues Real Answers: The Vendor Advantage
As the consolidation of wholesalers has picked up, where does that leave the independent dealer?
BY: RICK SCHUMACHER
Consolidation has been a factor in our industry for decades. If anything, the great recession hastened the pace of consolidation among both dealers and vendors. With fewer wholesale distributors supplying materials to fewer dealers, each one’s importance is magnified. This means that vendor selection, for dealers, is more important than ever. Indeed, with more dealers wanting to carry less inventory, the burden has moved to their supplier—who is expected to deliver on time and in full. For this edition of Real Issues. Real Answers., we asked dealers to share how their supplier helps keep them competitive
This month’s question was inspired by Tom Baalmann, Jr. of B&B Lumber, Wichita, Kan., who wrote: “As the consolidation of wholesalers has picked up, where does that leave the independent dealer? How important are buying groups and co-ops in keeping the dealer at a competitive advantage with his purchases?”
We used Tom’s question as a springboard to learn where readers from different companies purchase their materials, then to ask what they believe their vendors bring to the table. Before we get to the results, a big thank you to the nearly 250 readers who took the time to share their thoughts.
First, we asked readers to identify their leading suppliers by type. As expected, and as you’ll see from the graph on the following page, product sourcing varies fairly widely by dealer type.