State of the Industry Report
Large Distributors: Differentiate To Succeed
Collateral printing and value-added services top the list of large distributorsÍ survival tools
By Misty Byers
In a highly-competitive industry one thing is certainyou canÍt survive if you arenÍt willing to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Successful large distributorships are meeting this challenge by increasing services and extending their product bases.
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin-based Teuteberg is doing more commercial printing and ña lot more value-added services such as fulfillment and database managementî than five years ago, said Matt Teuteberg, executive vice president. ñInstead of just having forms in a clientÍs pick-and-pack program, we might include all of their literature, commercial printing and label products. ItÍs really becoming more of a total print of services contract.î
ñWe have become more focused on value-added services such as document management programs that distinguish us from most commercial printers,î said Kevin Schrader, operations manager at Hart Information Services, Austin, Texas.
At Data Supplies (DSI), Duluth, Ga., commercial printing has also been a major growth area. ñIt has probably been the biggest single area of growth in our company,î noted Tom Tabor, vice president of corporate operations. ñEnd-users want to narrow down the number of suppliers they use and limit the number of links they have coming into their company,î he added. ñI always use the expression that the company with the most toys in their toy box is going to get the business.î
End-users arenÍt the only ones reducing the number of suppliers used. Teuteberg is making an effort to reduce its number of vendors in order to cut down on administrative costs and develop more intensive partnerships with those that remain.
ñWeÍve gotten closer to our top suppliers, as far as bringing them into our sales meetings and meeting with end-users,î noted Teuteberg. ñThe products we sell are getting more complex. When we call on a customer we are selling ourselves as consultants, able to bring in an expert partner.î