Those of us involved in the manufacturing products for the Coin Laundry Industry are constantly aware of the value of the distributors with whom we partner. These are dedicated companies who not only understand the details of our products, but are also our final sales contact with the coin laundries that utilize our products day by day and year after year. For us as manufacturers, to even approximate performing this service would require that we field and support huge mobile sales staffs. Rather than concentrate on producing quality, dependable items and efficiently shipping to a limited number of distributors, we would be immersed in handling individual orders from up to 35,000 coin laundries - not a realistic or cost effective prospect for most of us.
From the end user/coin laundry owner's perspective, we see a similar level of value. Imagine the path of initial interest in a business, to information for making decisions on - location, building (new or existing), site financing (lease, buy) equipment choices (manufacturer, type & size, and numbers of each), equipment purchase (buy, finance), ancillary equipment (changers, card payment, vendors, carts, scales, water heating), utilities and rates, environmental requirements, office equipment, hiring attendants, etc. Also services decisions such as accounting, legal, advertising and insurance. And let's not forget the constant distributor support with service and spare parts, and helping schedule machinery and equipment replacement. The decisions are endless, but a dedicated full line/service distributor can facilitate virtually all of them.
Do they earn whatever the difference between their cost and the selling price - You bet they do !! Aside from product decisions and the administrative challenge of buying, storing, tracking, accounting for and shipping, they handle all the other standard costs of maintaining a business - and actually provide much of the above valuable information and assistance at no extra charge.
Can you imagine trying to handle all of these aspects alone? You either have to be a genius with lots of time available, a workaholic with no personal/family time, or totally delusional. The right partnering combination of distributor and end user assures the best use of everyone's time and the best prospect for initial and continued success.
The next time you are talking with a distributor, whether they are distributing your products or helping start or continuing to supply your coin laundry, take a moment to fully appreciate their value to our industry.
Rick Rawlins, (past) CLA Chairman of the Board
Re-printed with permission, The Journal, May 2001