Distributor vs. Reseller- What’s the Difference?

At Triplex, we take a tremendous amount of pride representing the very best brands in the sanitary processing industry including SPXFlow, Graco, and United Industries. And while we are authorized distributors for all of these product lines, we’re not the only place in town you can get some of these products. And in the age of the internet, there’s literally no end to what you can buy online- my brother recently shipped live caterpillars to my home.

But as many of our customers can attest, more than just price distinguishes the buying experience between an authorized distributor and a reseller. So that got us to thinking- what exactly is the difference between a distributor and a reseller? In today’s out of control supply chain environment, the differences couldn’t be more important. Here are just a few of the things we came up with.

Distributors Stock. Resellers Drop Ship.

Ever receive a box from UPS and look in the upper right hand corner to see that it came from someone that isn’t who you bought the part from? That means it was drop shipped. While distributors will drop ship from time to time, we see it much more commonly with resellers. By drop shipping items, a reseller never even sees what the item is. Most times, they don’t even know what’s in the box or what they’re selling for that matter. This is order taking, not distribution. We’ll touch more on order takers later.

A good local distributor will stock both wide and deep on the product lines they carry. By “wide” we mean a large variety of products. And by deep, we mean a large quantity of their fastest moving parts. And while anyone can spend money on inventory, good distributors have an intimate understanding of their product lines and are able to anticipate the parts their customers will need and put them on the shelf. That’s why you’ll often find smaller, nimbler distributors have inventory that the big box dealers seemingly never do.

Distributors Service & Repair. Resellers Outsource.

Once upon a time, long, long ago car dealerships made the majority of their profits from new car sales. Today, almost 50% of their profits come from service and parts (with 25% of profits coming from new car sales and 25% coming from used car sales, this includes warranties, insurance, and other financing products).

This shift if not unique to car dealerships. Great distributors have long recognized that one of the best ways to support the products they sell is to service and support them on an aftermarket basis. This can include in house pump and valve repairs, as well as field service of large pieces of equipment like homogenizers, Votator scrape service heat exchangers, or Graco Drum or bin unloaders.

Distributors are also quick to help with site start up, equipment calibration, inspection, and site audits. As a Waukesha and Graco distributor, we are regularly doing on site training for our partners maintenance mechanics.

Resellers, simply put, do none of this.

Distributors are Solution Makers. Resellers Take Orders.

With the expansion internet and various online vendor portals, anyone can plug in a part number and get a price and process an order. Order taking is easy and adds little value to the customer buying experience. Selling is hard. Unfortunately, we’re seeing more and more distributors shift towards a carrying more lines and less staff. This means less time and attention to dedicate to core product lines.

Whether this happens with an authorized distributor or a reseller, ultimately the end user loses out on the expertise and new product innovations a great distributor can provide. Good distributors are quick to grasp and understand new products, work with the factory to perfect them, and then apply to them to complex process problems to help end users save time, energy, and effort on their high purity process needs. Resellers look up part numbers and flip you a price. See the difference?

At Triplex, we take pride in not only representing the best brands in the industry but serving as an industry leading distributor. We provide a large inventory of complete Waukesha PD and centrifugal pumps, as well as Graco AODD’s (be sure to check out our Ship Sure stock pump program) and stock aftermarket parts both wide and deep to support equipment that’s already in the field. We offer both in house equipment repair, as well as field service for all of the equipment we supply (see our Rapid Repair program). And with our 60+ years of combined process experience, or engineers have seen it all and are still keen to deploy new product technologies where it makes sense.

As always, if you have any questions about your SPXFlow PD pumps, Graco AODD, or any of the pieces of sanitary process equipment in your facility, please contact a Triplex Sales Engineer today!

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