By Former Generation Next Vice Chairperson Abbie Sack
Vice president, Hulet Body Company
Published in the April 2015 issue of Generation Next Edition.
The commercial truck industry is
very fascinating as the one-size-fits-all mentality of automobiles is thrown out
the window. As a member of the NTEA, you play an important role in a specialized
industry. Together with truck chassis manufacturers and their dealers; truck
body, equipment and trailer manufacturers; and truck body, equipment and trailer
distributors; an individual commercial vehicle can be created.
How does the distributor segment
First, let's start by defining what a distributor does.
A distributor is an entity that buys noncompeting products or product lines and
sells them direct to end users or customers. Most distributors also provide a
range of services such as technical support, warranty or service.
Distributors are essential in helping reach markets
manufacturers could not otherwise target. Businesses often appoint distributors
because a local business has existing customers, contacts and relationships, and
understands the local business culture and practices better. The distributor
becomes the manufacturer's direct point of contact for prospective
One size does not fit all.
For one sale, we can wear a multitude of distributor
hats. At Hulet Body Company, we work with our customers to provide them with a
truck body application to uniquely fit their needs. Over time, we have built
relationships with several companies we proudly represent, bringing to the table
the most current technology and ideas to create a unit that will efficiently
meet and exceed the needs of our customers.
As a liaison between the manufacturer and end user, the
relationship doesn't end once the product is delivered. We assist with the
maintenance and upkeep of equipment, any warranty issues, and support the
customer may need. There are so many more opportunities for your company beyond
the initial sale.
How do I become a distributor?
In our business, we are always looking for ways to grow.
Often times, bringing on a new line that fits our current business model is an
easy way to start as we already have a broad customer base.
The NTEA provides excellent resources for finding new
and well established companies looking to broaden their market. The NTEA's
Market Resource Guide is a comprehensive membership directory featuring
manufacturers, distributors and suppliers. It's an excellent tool for
researching opportunities for our company to expand our distributorship. Our
biggest event annually is of course The Work Truck Show® as this brings together
thousands of folks from the industry. For those companies whose products we
currently distribute, the show brings us face to face with our suppliers. We can
check out new product launches, see updates to existing technology, and meet
with executives we wouldn't normally have an opportunity to meet with throughout
the year. It also allows us to meet with other industry professionals
potentially looking to expand in our market.
Make it happen!
It doesn't matter if
your company is big or small. Becoming a distributor is an excellent first step
in growing and expanding your business. It takes a lot of hard work and
dedication, but we have found that the business relationships developed over the
years are imperative to the growth of our company. It only takes one phone call,
email or meeting to get the ball rolling. It's your opportunity to seize. Make
the most of it, and enjoy the benefits that come from being a
Learn more about Generation Next.
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