Distributor advisory councils can provide a more formal avenue for distributors to add value to the channel by providing local market knowledge to manufacturers in a structured setting. This article looks at best practices in implementing a distributor advisory council and why manufacturers and distributors have benefited from participating in these groups.
By formalizing a process for increased communication and partnership, Distributor Advisory Councils are one way some manufacturers have strengthened their relationships with distributors.
Welding, cutting and safety products manufacturer Thermadyne for example started a distributor advisory council in 2005 to move from informal ad hoc meetings to a more formalized process for getting distributor feedback on markets, products and policies. Thermadyne’s advisory council meets twice a year, but other manufacturers’ councils may just meet once a year. Most have more informal contact throughout the year through teleconferences or email.