What is Industrial Distribution?
The term refers to the goods and services a business supplies to another. Therefore, the function of industrial distributors involves an array of jobs to service a client. The task might be the sale of a piece of equipment that will boost production in a manufacturing facility. The supplier may not become involved until a problem arises. For example, a plant that bottles pasta sauce experiences a breakdown in a conveyor belt. As the distributor, you don’t need to know how to bottle sauce, but you do need to know which conveyor belt the customer requires to resolve the interruption.
The ultimate goal of the pasta bottling facility is to move their product to the consumer; this is known as consumer distribution. In contrast, I.D. is a cog in the supply chain that allows one business or manufacturing entity to maintain the movement of goods. The manufacturer outsources certain aspects of the production process to companies that can best serve its needs – either to fix a problem, increase production, expansion, or update equipment.
Here is a glimpse at some of the potential jobs in the field of industrial distribution:
Sales can have many components. For example, a sales representative or manager confers with a newly formed company about to launch its first products. The sales distributor meets with the client to assess what they need to begin operations. At the introductory phase, the rep wants to ensure that a trusting relationship forms at the outset, knowing this will lead to future sales as the company expands. As the rapport develops, the rep should maintain frequent contact with the client to address any concerns. Even a no-sale can go a long way toward showing that the rep has an interest in the success of the company. The success of which precedes the salesperson’s desire to sell.
A company may seek the assistance of an I.D. to increase its market share. If sales begin to lag, the client wants to know why and what it can do to regain and grow their presence in the respective market for its products. Enter the services of a marketing professional whose task it is to examine competitors, historical sales, market share, and other criteria to gain an overall picture of the situation.
Using statistics, the marketing representative scrutinizes data to ascertain why sales dropped and where there are avenues for growth. In this endeavor, the marketing team may consult with sales and operations personnel for their thoughts.
Computer software is another job title engaged in industrial distribution. With the preponderance of computers involved in manufacturing, sales, and analytics, this is a vast field. Many facilities use robotics in their operations; order revenue for 2019 amounted to $1.681 billion in robotic orders. Much of the demand comes from the automotive O.E.M. (original equipment manufacturer) industry that experienced a 50.5% increase in requests for 2019.
Computer software is the brains behind robotics. Therefore, software technicians must meet the customers’ needs to maintain and resolve computer glitches. A software (or hardware) problem could seriously hamper production resulting in lost time and sales.
The qualifications for this position typically require an M.B.A. Firms such as L.E.K. Consulting provide a full-service for a variety of industries through their 1,600+ professionals. According to its website, selected undergraduates become a Summer Associate working with a management consulting team. The next step is the invitation for exemplary M.B.A. students to work as a Summer Consultant for 8 to 10 weeks. The role may land you on a business services team that analyzes business models for clients in the assessment of new markets, for example.
Another job in the consulting arena is a warehouse consultant. The duties in this job exceed the confines of storing and moving pallets of goods. Warehousing is one spoke in the supply chain, as the efficiency in storage can facilitate distribution. A smooth warehouse operation reduces time searching and transferring products for shipment. To accomplish this objective, the warehouse consultant appraises the space, its usage, accessibility of goods, handling practices, logistics, the labor force, and more. These factors have a bearing on the profitability of the company.
Logistics is one phase in the distribution process that covers every stage of the supply chain from the purchase of raw materials to the transportation of the product to the buyer or consumer. The position may start by looking at the big picture, which is the entire manufacturing operation. From there, the logistician narrows the focus to the details per the above stages. The individual requires an analytical approach and a keen sense of organization. Upon the conclusion of his/her findings, a presentation to management is likely. Therefore, effective oral and written communications are crucial to the job.
The above jobs only scratch the surface of possible careers in the field of Industrial Distribution. With the diversity of positions comes a variance in the degrees that qualify one to work in the profession. Some of these include logistics, supply chain management, statistics, management, sales, marketing, and business administration.