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Customers are demanding more services from distributors, and distributors often oblige to keep the business. But that's not always the smartest move. Make sure you're providing the right services, and that those services won't eat into your profitability or productivity, says Mike Baker, vice president of marketing and vendor relations for Independent Electric Supply in Distributors: Customers Want More.
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Independent Electric Supply was acquired by Sonepar in 2011.
"We will consider almost anything," Baker said, "but we'll only agree to do the things that make sense."
For example, Independent Electric Supply turned down a contract requesting the company provide all of the recycling for a job site – including non-electrical related materials.
The right services can boost product sales and margins, and many customers are willing to pay for those additional benefits if they fill a need. But make sure the benefits are on both sides of the transaction.