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The Basics of Product Distribution: Channels, Methods and Partners

The Basics of Distribution: Channels, Methods and Partners

When thinking of the term “channels” you might think of your TV, but in distribution, we’re talking about the method in which your product gets to your customers. The path or flow of the product’s journey.

Channels are what distributors use to get your product from your manufacturer to your customer.

There are two types of channels: Direct and Indirect.

Direct channels are ones where your consumer gets your product directly from the manufacturer.

Indirect channels are ones with stops between manufacturer and consumer. These include retail stores, wholesale firms and brokers.

Choosing the right channels for your product is crucial to your company’s success.

But the decision depends on your product. Your product will drive your channel selection.

What Are the Methods of Distribution?

Your distribution strategy is key to your growth. There are three types of distribution methods that are typically utilized:

Exclusive:  This type is precisely how it sounds: limited. Whether it is to certain markets, areas or locations, this type creates a high-end reputation and distribution strategy.

Intensive: Again, just as it sounds—this is as much and many places and people as possible. The goal here is to be everywhere.

Selective: Is a combination of the two, specific areas, locations and markets are considered but not so limited as exclusive.

You will make your choice based on your business goals and your product. As you’re devising your strategy, consider who you want to partner with in order to achieve those goals.

Distribution Partners

Distributors: Perhaps the most important relationship cultivator, distributors are involved nearly every step of your product’s sale. From marketing to reputation building, distributors and their reputation are so important to your success.  They know the market, they understand the barriers and they get your customers. Why? Because your success is their success.

Retailers These are the stores that offer your product for sale. They will either purchase from distributors or wholesalers and aren’t very involved in the product sale process other than selling the inventory they purchased.

Wholesalers They fulfill retail orders, buy from distributors and/or manufacturers and sell in bulk.

Brokers/Agents These partners concentrate on customer relationships, manage special shipments and contracts, and help market your product.

As you can see—any and all of them affect your product, reputation and profits. You should be careful in your vetting and selection of your partners to ensure you’ve selected the ones who will help you grow.

Create Your Distribution Strategy Now

Unsure of where to begin? Start here. We are your single source contact for all your distribution needs. From channel selection to international partnerships, you will grow because we know. Reach out today to get started.

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COVID-19 and Your Supply Chain

The coronavirus has crept across the globe, bringing with it heartbreak and fear.

In addition to the devastation it has caused families, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the economy.

Many businesses have felt the crushing blow of the pandemic and in its wake, the isolation requirements, shut downs and travel restrictions.

Disruption in supply and demand necessitates an adaptable company with flexible strategies to survive the change.

But in order to devise a strategy, a company must identify current and future risks and create plans to mitigate those risks in both the short and long term.

Pandemic Risks and Business Impact

The pandemic promises that many supplier shifts may endure, real estate planning is critical for changes in warehousing and fulfillment, contingency preparations are needed for stock build up, and new partnerships are a prerequisite to survival.

Risks to supply chains will remain long after the restrictions are lifted because the damage will take considerable time to repair and rebuild.

Logistics Manager’s Index Report shared that prices for transportation and inventory are on a downward drive.

This trajectory will continue in this direction until strategies that support a pandemic-impacted supply chain are created by companies so they can restore from the current losses and have a proactive plan to deal with the long-term impact of COVID-19.

How Companies are Strategizing during the Pandemic

Many companies are dependent on Chinese production.

Certain industries have been hit much harder, including pharmaceuticals, electronics and clothing design.

With the combination of the coronavirus and the Chinese New Year, procuring supplies, and at reasonable prices has created a need to diversify supply sources for their products or components.

This is not as simple as choosing new suppliers or production partners.

COVID-19 Changes to the Supply Chain

Transportation routes, logistics, warehousing and fulfillment functions must be completely redesigned and executed.

This means scouting for and vetting new partners, holding negotiations, drafting new contracts and more.

It’s time-consuming but necessary to adapt to the changes that will most certainly be long-lasting. Especially when it comes to movement restrictions.

Planning for the ‘end’ of the pandemic is the wrong plan. Because even when restrictions are lifted, the effects of COVID-19 will remain. Especially for China where many businesses are avoiding direct contact with at ports as they diversify their supply partners.

All businesses should be implementing strategies to mitigate COVID-19 losses and risks.

Building new partnerships with new suppliers, reworking logistics, rerouting shipments and warehousing partially finished products that are dependent on components delayed by the virus.

Businesses might also consider sending orders in before the prices increase (even more) in response to the losses from the pandemic.

Create a Supply Chain Strategy Today

COVID-19 is a major threat to most companies and their supply chains. The full impact cannot be forecasted fully, and proactive strategies are the safety net a lot of companies need to stay in business.

As a world economy, we are not experienced in navigating and adapting to a pandemic. Knowing where to start can be overwhelming, as a business owner.

SHC Logistics has 20 years’ worth of partnerships, networks, warehousing, fulfillment, plans and adaptations to help you create strategies you need to survive as a business during the pandemic.

From worldwide warehousing to an international network of partnerships, SHC Logistics can help you make changes today to stay ahead of COVID19’s impact on your industry.

Call us for more information on how we can help you.

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Why Distribution Centers and Warehousing Centers Fail

super health center distribution and warehouses

You’d think with the technology available to the distribution and warehousing technology, that services would be running smoother than ever.

But that’s not the case and it hasn’t been for several years.

It boils down to strategies being implemented by management.

Why Distribution Centers and Warehouses are Failing

Distribution and warehouses are missing a simple piece to the puzzle: continuous improvement. You know how we all say, ‘we’re a work in progress”? The same approach should be taken with your distribution workflow and warehouses. Nothing is perfect.

Antiquated strategies that management relies on are static. Not only are they not adaptable to change, they are costing the companies millions every year.

Customer service is failing, profits are dropping and strategies get more labored and convoluted than ever.

That’s why processes and policies should be in place to continually review and improve processes. Commonly called continuous-improvement programs. Self-explanatory, right?

It doesn’t have to be complex—but it must include awareness and conscientious review to identify areas of weakness and gaps that need improvement.

Less than 55% of facilities have a continuous-improvement program in place.

Lean thinking and in-depth employee training is at an all-time low, as well—at less than 50% of the recommended 40 hours of training.

The pattern here is simple: basic business.

It’s not a lack of funding, software, technology or the like.

It’s a lack of action.

A lack of involvement.

Distribution centers and warehouses need proactive policies and programs to stay on top of workflows and processes.

With this approach—you can quickly identify issues and cure them before your reputation takes a hit.

You don’t need to spend a bunch of money making changes, but you do have to spend time.

Implement Simple Continuous Improvement Strategies

At Super Health Center we know the pitfalls distributors, manufacturers, warehouses and brands face. Let us use our knowledge to help you avoid reputation damage. Call us or reach out for more information on how we can help you with your simple business plans.

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Distribution Trends for 2020-2021

distribution trends 2019

It doesn’t seem like distribution can change on a fundamental level—get products to consumers and businesses. Right? But the framework that makes distribution is always changing. How customers shop, what they expect, what we can automate and how we can improve delivery are always on the top of the improvement list.

Let’s start with the focus: D2C

Distribution Trends 2020-2021: Direct to Consumer (D2C)

Retail and consumer markets are now focused heavily on D2C making these next couple years even more difficult for the Distribution Industry. B2B is being forced to the side of the road a slower growth rate of 4.7% this year. As such, distribution companies need to up their game on their business models and customer service.

Distribution Trends 2020-2021:  More Efficient Delivery Models

Let’s face it: delivery models are changing. They are more convenient and optimized—which means if you want to compete, you better optimize your models, too.

That’s the trend for 2020—replace outdated 3p services with streamlined cost-effective models to increase convenience, conversions and commitment to your brand.

Speaking of customer satisfaction, what better what than to develop real relationships with your customers? You can and you will if you want to stay ahead of the game in 2020.

Distribution Trends 2020-2021: Personalized Everything

Let’s get personal. Nowadays, we have access to customer’s preferences, habits, behavior flows, order histories and more (with their permission where required). What does this mean? DATA DATA DATA. Data is a gold mine.

We think of it this way-data is a long conversation with someone.  What you do with that information reveals your intentions. Do you use that information to get to know them? Relate to them? Develop a relationship with them?

Yes, the answer is yes.

So with all the information you have access to, analyzing that info and using it to communicate meaningfully is key.

Which leads us to our next item: customer service.

Distribution Trends 2020-2021: Customer-Centric Wins the Race

While brand voice, presence and reputation are extremely important—it’s really not going to matter if you don’t have the service to back it up. Customers want more in 2020. More than a brand name. They want a good experience. They want quality. They want a price that matches that value. They’ll ask your name if you meet their expectations.

As such, combining personalization with customer-centric strategies is key. Make people’s lives simpler, more convenient and make it even easier to contact you and reach someone in a variety of ways.

By phone, email or chat—you have the technology, use it.

Speaking of which…

Distribution Trends 2020-2021: Voice Powered Orders

Technology is live, but when we look back, it hasn’t been around ALL that long. Which means it will continue to evolve and change the way we do business…which is why distributors need to stay on top of tech trends to make sure they’re maintaining a competitive advantage.

Google and Amazon are some well-known pioneers for voice ordering…people are constantly on devices. And today, when they think of a purchase, they want to do it now and be done with it.

Make it easier for them.Whether B2C or B2B let your customers connect and tell you what they want, anytime, anywhere.

Are you sensing a trend in these trend? It’s mostly technology, mixed with a little humanity.

To bring a more personalized and convenient approach to relationships with customers than ever before.

If you’re behind in the technology game, you better get a pro to help level the playing field or you might find yourself benched in the industry.

Need help? We do it all from e-commerce to brand development. Contact us, let us make you the leaders in tomorrow’s trends,today.

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Top Barriers to Entering Foreign Markets

foreign markets

Top Barriers to Entering Foreign Markets

Expanding your business into the global market can be as challenging as it is exciting. But reality is that most companies don’t know or prepare for barriers when entering foreign markets. Not only can this destroy your brand reputation in that foreign market, but it can adversely impact your bottom line.

Knowing your barriers can aid in forming a strategy that plans for and overcomes barriers to entering foreign markets.

Barrier to Entering Foreign Markets: Culture

While this is not the biggest barrier, it is one that is usually not in the top priority of most companies. They might hire a translator but they don’t invest enough time in understanding culture where they are socially, economically and what norms, beliefs and values shape the voice of that country.

What sells well in your country, might not in another country.

You can research all the laws, pay fees and do everything right….and if you fail in obtaining cultural acceptance, you may find it’s the most expensive in the end when rejected by foreign consumers. No matter what you do, you can’t change your first impression.

Barrier to Entering Foreign Markets: Monopolies

Business environments are markedly dissimilar depending on the country. Organizations entering foreign markets may experience a monopoly environment in a country where the industry is run by one company or operated by the state. This barrier is more like a block to entering the market. The monopoly will often use licenses to prevent alternative developments.  If blocking tactics don’t work, the monopolizing firm or country can simply lower its prices beyond what a new entrant could charge.

Research your industry and country to determine if a monopoly exists prior to investing in that market.

Barrier to Entering Foreign Markets: Marketing/Product Differentiation

When entering foreign markets, the existing competitors have consumer loyalty and branding. This forces your firm to clearly communicate to targeted consumers to compel them to try a foreign product or service. This can require extensive marketing resources with high price tags. Speaking of money….

Barrier to Entering Foreign Markets: Capital Needs

As you can imagine all of these barriers are adding up. From R&D and marketing to scale and logistics, funds should be generously budgeted and available to avoid a strategy derailment.

Barrier to Entering Foreign Markets: Cost Disadvantages

The existing market owners will certainly have access to materials, locations, technology and government assistance to help them maintain competitive advantage.

Barrier to Entering Foreign Markets: Foreign Laws, Rules and Regulations

Second to marketing costs, legal research and fees can be as heavy a hitter when it comes to entering foreign markets. There are laws governing every aspect of a good or service and its branding. Your legal team should thoroughly review the rules and bring your brand to compliance prior to entering.

There will also be registration processes, custom requirements and poor legal protection for you as a foreign company. Expect losses resulting from inadvertent violations or legal actions brought by competitors or consumers where the court is unlikely to side with a foreign firm.

Barrier to Entering Foreign Markets: Access to Distribution Channels

Finally access to distribution channels can stifle your success. Often foreign firms own the distribution channels or have agreements that leave you without access and therefore reducing your chances of success.

Super Health Center Reduces Barriers to Entering Foreign Markets

This is certainly not an exhaustive list. There are numerous barriers that seem to multiply daily.  It’s overwhelming and can result in a lot of loss if not done correctly.

That’s why Super Heath Center decided to share its experience, knowledge and relationships to help your brand enter foreign markets with fewer barriers and lower costs. Check out our services here and share your brand with the world.

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How to Choose a Logistics Company

logistics

Choosing a logistics company is a vital part of brand growth strategy. Your provider should be experienced, reputable and capable.

So, what are some things to look for when hiring a logistics provider?

Hiring a Logistics Provider: Company Reputation

This is the first check box you should tick. If they don’t have a good reputation, or lack one, you don’t have a good reference.

Logistics can be complex and complicated. Issues are bound to arise and you will want a company that handles issues swiftly and professionally. Your logistics firm will work with suppliers and other business partners and you want that interaction to be professional and not reflect on your company.

Hiring a Logistics Provider: Company Stability

While you’re investigating the reputation of your potential logistics providers, stability will be critical to your supply chain’s success. You can determine the stability of a company through references and questions.

Hiring a Logistics Provider: Capabilities

Next, the complex processes involved in logistics requires capable and competent providers. Ensure they are competent in your specific service area needs, and meet your short-term and long-term objectives.

Hiring a Logistics Provider: Questions

You wouldn’t hire an employee before talking to them and logistics providers should be asked to interview as well. After performing recon on their site, marketing and social media be prepared to ask questions. Here are a few basic questions you’ll want to cover:

  • How long have they been in business?
  • Have they worked for a firm in the same industry as yours?
  • How do you handle high-liability events?
  • Can they provide references from similar companies?
  • What platform do they utilize?
  • What custom services do they recommend based on your firm?
  • What storage, assembly and packaging options are available?
  • Can they process time-sensitive shipments?
  • What is the status of truckload lanes?
  • Who are their trusted suppliers?
  • What additional services do they offer?
    • Sub-assembly? Cross-docking? Etc.
  • Can they measure performance across all supply chain links?
    • At what level of detail? What KPIs?
  • Are they EDI-Capable (if applicable)?
  • How can they help your firm grow?

Don’t forget to ask yourself:  What KPIs do you need them to track? Do you want an asset-based logistics firm? What are your minimum conditions for reporting and visibility?

As you can see, hiring a logistics provider is a complex process that can help make or break your brand.

Need a single source provider that handles more than just logistics? We’ve got you covered.

  • Warehousing
  • Brand development
  • E-commerce
  • Logistics
  • Consolidation
  • Fulfillment
  • International
  • Domestic

We’re your single point of contact. Reach out today and partner with a reputatable firm ready to answer all your questions.

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Sports Nutrition Distribution Trends through 2025

sports nutrition distributor

The global sports nutrition market is expanding at an unprecedented pace and is expected to reach nearly 35 billion in the next 6 years.

Not only driven by an ever-increasing awareness of health and lifestyle, but also convenience of achieving both.

Research on effective ingredients, new herbs, minerals and other tests are supporting more and more sources. What does this mean? More products to distribute.

More products to compete with.

Along with growing awareness from consumers, growing disposable income is making sports nutrition purchases easier than ever.

Are you?

The average consumer wants expedited, convenient purchase options and products.

To meet these expectations, you must have a product distribution strategy.

That strategy should include your target markets.

Targeting markets isn’t as simple as throwing a dart on a map. You should know the market, its culture, demands, channels, regulatory issues and compliance requirements. After in depth research, you should then create a comprehensive launch and distribution strategy to promote success.

Upon launch, you should have a team to monitor issues, provide customer support, analyze data and modify your strategy in real time.

Obviously endeavors such as this take time, experience and resources. A big factor in failed distribution is not knowing. Not knowing the market, not knowing the demands, not knowing the legal requirements of a target territory, and often these mistakes can result in irreparable damage to a brand’s relationships with vendors and even its brand name.

We rely on experts to teach us in school, in college. We rely on experts to guide us in our health diagnoses and financial decisions. Why wouldn’t you rely on experts to guide your brand growth, development and distribution?

With nearly 20 years’ experience across the globe, Super Health Center has satellite offices worldwide, established relationships with vendors in multiple territories, a thorough understanding of regulations and registration requirements and more.

We are your single source for all your business needs. From product development and international distribution to consolidation and fulfillment, we are the only solution you need to make your brand succeed.

Connect with us today to learn more.

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Fulfillment Services that Can Help Your Brand Grow Internationally

Fulfillment Services that Can Help Your Brand Grow Internationally

Fulfillment. The word seems simple, but there are so many moving parts to fulfilling an order.

From processing and inventory to packing and delivery, fulfillment is full of critical processes that rely on each other to complete.

Combine that with a world that wants everything, and they want it now, and you have even more barriers to overcome.

Especially if you’re trying to take your brand abroad.

International Brand Expansion and Fulfillment

Fulfillment in today’s demanding world can be challenging. Consumers want instant access to products. They want their products worldwide and they want them now.

But what if your company is stuck in one place?

You can’t break down the customs barriers to take your brand abroad?

You don’t know where to go or where to start?

Launching your brand internationally can take months years.

  • There are registration requirements, legal documents, notarized statements and of course, fees.
  • There are label requirements, customs processes, compliance reviews and more.
  • You have to find the right agency to contact, advertising language must be translated, if applicable, and audited to ensure it meets cultural standards.

Aside from money, it takes time and knowledge to start fulfilling orders internationally.

There are so many American brands that have little to no international presence– and this is precisely why.

It’s difficult, it’s confusing, it’s costly and it takes a lot of time.

That’s why it can be financially beneficial to partner with a distributor who already has an international presence.

Super Health Center Can Fulfill Your Orders and Your Dreams of Going International

Super Health Center has something businesses cannot buy: time.

With nearly 20 years of international presence, networks, and warehouses, there’s nowhere your brand can’t go®

SHC knows country’s rules, regulations, registration and customs processes.

It knows the authorities and processes to expedite registration to get your brand abroad.

And once you’re there? SHC has warehouses worldwide to build your inventory and fulfill your international orders quickly.

There’s no simpler way, there’s no more cost effective way, to grow your brand internationally.

SHC is a full service international brand growing distributor. We don’t just deliver orders. We deliver dreams.

Yours.

From product review and launching to brand expansion and e-commerce, the partnerships we’ve cultivated over nearly two decades is how we make brands successful.

The world is growing, and so is their demand for products. Reach out today so we can put your products in their hands.

Connect with us today

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Distribution Trends for 2020 and How it Could Impact YOUR Strategies

Distribution trends have been leaning toward ‘experience’ for a few years now.

Couple customer expectations with labor shortages and you’ve got a recipe for a complete transformation on the horizon for 2020.

Direct to Consumer Trend

The D2C (Direct to Consumer) trend is influencing quite a few business decisions. eCommerce has lengthened companies’ arms and engagement with consumers.

In turn, consumers are going direct to companies and expecting instant gratification.

So how does that impact you strategies with these expectations?

Costly Decisions that Could Impact Your Brand

Most companies are trying to increase its distribution centers while reducing DC size. So instead of one big DC, you might see 10 in the same state to aid in getting product to consumers when they want it: which is NOW.

Great strategy, but before making that decision, you should know it can end up being more costly than just adding to your lease budget.

Cutting ties with distributors who already have these centers and have already prepared for the ON DEMAND consumer might end up costing you more than changing the terms of your current contracts to add more coverage and quicker deliveries.

Another hidden cost is the marketing and growth you might experience with a distributor.

If you choose the right one, you have instant networks: Just add water.

Or in this case, an agreement.

Keeping Your Distributor: Things to Consider

Good distributors will have networks and partnerships you can only acquire through time.

They may have offices, warehouses and partnerships all over the world. While doing it on your own may seem like it makes the most sense, you’ll need more than money to make it happen.

Cutting ties with distributors who are already prepared and able to register your products, launch your brands internationally and introduce your products into territories that took them years to achieve, may mean you now must pay the time toll, too. That could take years. Is that in your budget?

Sounds dramatic, but international barriers will never make international expansion easy.

But distributors can.

Instead of jumping the distribution ship only to find you weren’t prepared to swim on your own, consider vetting your current distributor/s.

Are they able to partner with you to meet the demands of the consumer?

Are they able and willing to change terms to expedite delivery and increase customer satisfaction?

Is your current agreement benefitting your international plans?

If not, look at others. There are plenty of distributors who have been following and forecasting trends.

Super Health Center Can Solve Your Business Problems Today

We have been waiting for your call.

Super Health Center has multiple distribution centers to meet consumer demands, we have nearly 20 years’ experience building partnerships, satellite offices, and networks across the world.

We can integrate with your software and your strategy so you can save money and meet customer expectations.

Reach out today and be prepared for tomorrow.

Connect with us today

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What You Should Know Before Selecting a 3PL

super health center fulfillment

Fulfillment is a satisfying word. A promise kept, hunger slaked;, it is the biggest and often the most important part of an agreement.

Fulfillment in distribution is just that: fulfilling orders placed by customers. Sounds simple, right?

They order, you fulfill, everyone is happy…

But the steps between ordering and fulfilling can be taxing, especially on growing businesses. Inadequate fulfillment can lead to unhappy customers and promising reputations ruined.

Because of this, many companies hire third party logistics companies, or 3PLs, to take care of everything between ‘order placed’ to ‘order delivered’.

What is a 3PL?

A 3PL is a logistics provider that fulfills orders placed by customers. It is a crucial link in the supply chain that can involve warehousing, consolidation, picking, packing, inventory, shipping and more.

It’s not quite as simple as mailing an order and e-commerce has made it even more difficult for companies to handle their own fulfillment internally. Nearly all large companies use 3PLs because of this.

How Does a Third Party Logistics Company Work?

Fulfillment companies obtain your inventory usually from your manufacturer. They warehouse and manage the inventory at their locations. They receive your orders through software integration or authorized access and incorporate your orders into their processes to deliver your goods to your customers.

When Do Companies Hire a 3PL?

Most companies seek the assistance of fulfillment companies after experiencing growth that surpasses their ability to meet customer orders in a timely manner.

In addition to growth, the cost of storage, transportation, distribution and shipping can all be factors to consider when making the decision to partner with a fulfillment company.

What Services do Fulfillment Companies Offer?

There are different levels of 3PLs depending on what your company needs, but the basics are two:

Transportation 3PLS: these logistics providers transport inventory between your warehousing locations, retail locations or between your storage location and buyers.

Warehouse 3PLS: these fulfillment providers store your inventory in addition to transporting it. Some will also handle your returns. 

If you offer expedited shipping, you will not only need a 3PL with multiple warehousing locations, but you’ll also need to provide them with forecasted inventory as well as stock that aligns with it.

Some things to consider when hiring a third party logistics company:

  • Insurance
  • Pricing models
  • Delivery service levels
  • Returns management
  • Software integration requirements
  • Fulfillment guarantees
  • Refund credits
  • Shipping rates
  • Carriers
  • International distribution
  • Compliance
  • Customs

The advantages of a 3PL are clear. They are the professionals and can usually much better handle the tedious parts of fulfillment so you can focus on growing your business.

But the average 3PL has a missed opportunity that is inherent in their work: your business’ growth.

What Most 3PLs Don’t Do For Your Company

Logistics companies are linked up with many partners that can facilitate the growth of your company. 

From international partnerships in distribution to domestic retail contracts, most 3PLs have the perfect brand building opportunities but they don’t offer to grow your business for you while they’re carrying out the most growth-inducing part of your business: fulfilling orders.

What a missed opportunity!

Super Health Center Fulfills Orders and Brand Growth

Super Health Center has nearly 20 years’ of partnerships and experience under its belt. We’ve taken our experience, partnerships and invaluable insight gained over two decades to offer you a more ‘fulfilling’ relationship with us as your 3PL.

From product development to marketing, we don’t just deliver your orders, we plant the seeds of your brands everywhere we go. 

We begin our partnership by familiarizing ourselves with your company. We assign exclusive marketing and development teams to your brand. We review your strategies and develop internal growth strategies for your brand, both domestically and abroad. Everything we do from order to delivery has your brand’s growth woven into it. 

Why settle for a company that just delivers your orders when you can have one that delivers your success? 

Start fulfilling your orders and success– Connect with us today