The word “distributor” comes from the Latin word “distribuere”, which means to share out
Purchasing in medium-sized businesses is characterised by features which add facets to and, in part, even contradict the ideal image of purchasing as is depicted in business studies text books.
These features begin with the structure of the busi-ness. In larger organisations, functions such as strategic purchasing, operational purchasing, master data maintenance and supplier account support are the responsibility of separate people and often separate departments, but in medium-sized organisations this is organised in “personal union”. In other words, every employee must be able to deal with everything from the proverbial paper clip through to a tanker containing raw materials and be required to be able to plan every ordered product and track the entire purchasing process.They could be required to quickly check the product of a potential new supplier, whilst negotiating pricing at the same time as checking the weekly invoices.
Medium-sized organisations are usually further characterised by purchasing in smaller quantities, although the variety of products ordered is often the same as with larger sized companies. This affects the structure of the supplier. While huge quantities of products are delivered to large companies, smaller quantities are of no interest to the large manufacturers, and these quantities are passed over to the dealers and distributors.
The relationship the distributors have with medium-sized companies is mainly on a level playing field. Within the supply chain there are similar targets and goals and the service concept is alive and well. The word “distributor” comes from the Latin word “distribuere”, which means to share out. And exactly this is their main purpose: to share out manufacturer’s products across the market. A business professional will soon notice any differences in the sales concept and become savvy to any potential conflicts which may arise. It’s also interesting that, in German, distributors call the manufacturers “Prinzipale”, taken from the latin word “principalis”, meaning chief or principal, and the word means ruler in Italian.