Your business is up and running. You've invested a lot of time and money to get your product or service just the way you want it. Now what? The first thing to do is find out which people will be buying your products. Who will your customers be? Once you've found this information, you need to devise a plan that will physically get your products and services into the proper market so people can buy them.
Distribution channels are the paths that products and services take to get from your business to your customers. These paths can be long and convoluted, involving wholesalers, distributors and retailers, or they can be as simple as selling directly to the public from your home. What method of distribution is right for you? How does your competition distribute? What can you afford? If other people or companies need to be involved in the distribution process, it's essential that you communicate well and know exactly which part of the operation each is responsible for.
Distribution Resource Planning (DRP)
DRP is a matter of looking at the needs you have compared to the resources available to you. This includes looking at the possible use of extra manpower, hired transportation, warehousing and other factors. Will you need to lease a truck and hire a full-time driver, or will you need to contract a much larger fleet? A good DRP will help you manage your inventory as well. You'll know exactly how much product you're shipping, where it's going, and when. The point is, whatever distribution method you choose, it must be reliable and safe for your product and your business, and it must be a method you can afford.
Getting Your Supplies
You never want to have operational downtime because you've run out of production supplies. To ensure this doesn't happen, you need dependable suppliers. Do your research and ask other businesses until you find a supplier with a solid record of filling their clients' needs. Even if you do sign up with a supplier that meets your needs, it's still a good idea to keep an eye out for something better, make sure your current supplier stays competitive. After all, business is still business.