AN ACADEMIC APPROACH TO DOING BUSINESS
26 NOVEMBER 2017
The distributor connects the manufacturer and the consumer. Distributor influences the customers’ level of satisfaction, and the financial indicators of the manufacturer. Often, it is the manufacturer who needs to make sure that the distributor knows what is necessary about the product.
You can have an excellent product; you may have had a very active advertising campaign, making your brand recognizable and popular among consumers. But your entire business can be adversely affected by the weakest link of distribution.
Here is a good example from the mid-2000s. One of the famous Korean car companies with a well-known name, and a good-quality, inexpensive product was losing competition to other similar companies on our market. They had problems with delivery terms, their pricing policies, services, etc. The problem persisted until the head office decided to take over the distribution element, which had been controlled by three different companies. An official importer company was set up, and their business recovered. In fact, today this manufacturer is among the top three most popular carmakers on the Russian market.
Gazpromneft-Lubricants Company, which celebrates its decennial this year, delivers its products directly to clients and via distributorships. But as sales markets grow every year, so do production volumes, working with third-party delivery companies is becoming increasingly more important.
To make sure that distribution is a strong and reliable link, Gazpromneft-Lubricants Company decided to set up a G-Energy Academy to train the staff of partner companies.
General Director of Gazpromneft-Lubricants: “We have a fairly clearly designed profile, which we call the Distributor Portrait. We produce high-tech products, and to sell it we need experience, professional skills, warehouse facilities and delivery services. Therefore, our goal as manufacturers is to build a system for products delivery to consumers, with minimal expenses in shortest time possible. One of the requirements for our distributors is to be a part of our unified technology area. We invest considerable resources in training our distributors; we train not only sales managers, but, first and foremost, their engineers. We teach them to use our products correctly, and various tricks for choosing just the right lubricant. This is why we view our 3000 distributors in 72 countries as our unified team, our joint network.”
As of today, Gazpromneft – Lubricants Company produces some 500 types of lubricants. After we received ISO/TC 16949 certification, we started working with carmakers. Carmakers need deliveries of products every other day, if not every day, so distributors must have certain logistical capacities. So, the distributors are required to have good logistics a professional team, a solid understanding of the regional market, a desire to be open and to develop fast.
Only if a reliable chain is created, achieving consistently excellent results is possible, as is the case with Gazpromneft-Lubricants. The company does not intend to rest on the laurels of its present-day achievements, and long-term planning is already underway.
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