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When Distributors aren't Distributors

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  • When Distributors aren't Distributors

    I order a lot of stuff for my robotics team. Most of the time it can wait a few days, but during the build season we need to have it next day. It seems at least in Minnesota that our distributors have become non-stocking order takers. One of the distributors for a popular construction material doesn't even stock the basic parts for fastening the material together. He said it would be a week for delivery. After calling him I got to thinking that I should just have ordered direct from the factory rather than pay the distributor extra to for the same service as the factory. It seems more and more don't stock parts, but say they can have it in 2 or 3 days. Well, I can order from the same places and have it in 2 or 3 days. It seems like distributors are forgetting what being a distributor means.

    Have people been seeing the same thing happen in their area?

    - T

  • #2
    Try McMaster Carr, they ship next day in most cases. Bob.


    • #3
      The local high school robotics team asked me for some parts
      (timing pulleys,toothed timing belts, slip clutches, and bearings)
      because their distributor could not ship them in time for their
      build due date. So Doozer donated parts from his hoard of goodies
      to help the kiddies. Got a thank you in the PTA news letter.
      It feels good to help out, and to have a hoard of mechanical
      goodies, for which I guess I am well known for in my circles.



      • #4
        Originally posted by Bob Fisher View Post
        Try McMaster Carr, they ship next day in most cases. Bob.
        Ditto. Even with standard ground shipping we receive our orders the next day at work (Owensboro, KY). Two days for personal stuff sent to home.


        • #5
          To answer your question, yes. And I would have thought nowadays that nearly everyone would be scrambling for more business but apparently not...

          After calling him I got to thinking that I should just have ordered direct from the factory rather than pay the distributor extra to for the same service as the factory
          Found the same thing except often the "factory" will not ship directly to "end users"...just today went into one place known for over-priced items and was told they don't deal with non-business customers...huh?, while what they meant was they do not deal with anyone who is not "representing a business"...was then told it will just get printed out as a cash sale anyway unless there is an account, so to purchase there I have to say I am buying for the place I work at (a business) even though the purchase will go through on my card...I can sort of understand a warehouse sort of place not being really equipped to deal in cash but nowadays if an order can go out via internet order process, surely coming by on foot is no more complicated?


          • #6
            In here a lot of importers and factories only sell to businesses (and usually in bulk) as they can get around consumer laws about returns and warranty. Have seen this happen many times when I have phoned or emailed a place to ask about their products. But if I just walk in casual clothing to such a place during office hours and ask for what I need, they get it to the counter, take money and I leave happy. No questions asked or at most they can ask for a name or reference to print on the receipt.
            Amount of experience is in direct proportion to the value of broken equipment.


            • #7
              Customer service only means "how can we take your money" anymore. Where I live the local community has lost almost all industry and the support industry left shortly after.
              I get so tired of "we can order that for ya" that I don't bother to look around town for things I need. Too often I can't find any of whatever I need. Like fittings for air or water supply, if any fittings are available they'll be the opposite "hand" from what I want.
              Contractors promise to come give estimates and either don't show, show days later, or show but don't quote nor decline the job. Just leave ya hanging. Like they don't need the job anyway.

              Mentally confused and prone to wandering!


              • #8
                Are they all just moving to a drop ship model?
                Proud machining permanoob since September 2010


                • #9
                  Apparently so. Didn't you see the Costa Concordia thread?
                  Kansas City area


                  • #10
                    And suppliers wonder why more people are buying online and doing work themselves.

                    Ditto here with getting work done even at a business , I wanted a couple of awnings put up , the awnings are here with plans etc , but no-one wants the work.

                    I'll have to do it myself one week end .

                    I don't buy much hardware or tooling locally anymore as I was also getting the "we can order it for you and it should be here in about a week", and surprisingly when I order the same stuff from their supplier it arrived in two days.

                    A lot of this started when accountants started to tell businesses that stock sitting on the shelf was money that could be earning interest if invested in the stockmarket .

                    One of my ex accountants told me to sell the business premises and to rent or lease them back , cut down on the parts inventory , order parts after a job came in and the customer would have to wait .

                    Thats why that accountant is no longer used ,I hold around $3/4 million in spares keep two vehicles setup for work trucks , one in maintenance while the other is on the road.
                    Thats my type of insurance , parts still dont always cover whats required but at least I can start repairs while waiting for a major item to arrive .

                    I dont understand why customer service is no longer important , most only seem to care about reports and SLA's , not actually fixing the customers equipment in such a way that it keeps working .



                    • #11
                      The economy is still in the crapper and nobody wants inventory on the shelves because they don't know if or when it will sell.That's been the case since fall 2010.

                      Forget middle men,when manufacturers and 1st tier vendors don't have product on the shelf,even completely common hardware then it's not the fault of JIT delivery.
                      I just need one more tool,just one!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Toolguy View Post
                        Apparently so. Didn't you see the Costa Concordia thread?
                        You have an evil mind.

                        We need more of your kind around here.


                        • #13
                          The economy may be in the dumps but not all of us have stopped working and I am just about back to 7 days a week again .
                          While people want the work done and are paying I'll keep working.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by krutch View Post
                            I get so tired of "we can order that for ya" that I don't bother to look around town for things I need..
                            Auto parts stores are like that here. *And* they have the gall to add "shipping" on top of that... for something coming to their store.

                            If I wanted it tomorrow and to pay shipping, I'd just order it from the internet. So I'll turn away from the counter and do just that. Sorry, "struggling local business." Just die.


                            • #15
                              What some of you might be missing is that the internet has caused a lot of these things to happen. People go online to window shop for an item. Then they call or go to their local supplier to compare the price. It is only logical if an online company does not have to have a store front end they reduce their overhead and can therefore sell for less money. Most people don't want to pay for the service they receive. Look at all the people buying Chinese crap because it is cheaper and then whine when the locals don't stock items. You can't have your cake and eat it too! I absolutely don't think you can blame the retailers for all of this happening. Go look in the mirror if you are looking for someone to blame.
                              Location: The Black Forest in Germany

                              How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!