Choose your distributors well
Every company knows the power of the retailer in pushing the brand. No wonder, he is the most pampered Channel Partner. The key to a good distribution network is however the distributor. There is little doubt that the distributor is the weakest link in the chain; he neither owns the product (supply), nor the customer (demand). Though this means that he is replaceable and deserves the least margins in the chain; it should not be taken to imply that he is unimportant. He is entirely responsible for ensuring a smooth and profitable supply chain.
Though technically the retailer is the last leg in the supply chain, the distributor is the last one that you as a manufacturer have any control on. Although on paper you may set some parameters and design a strategy on your whiteboard, you practically have no choice in picking retailers and have very limited control in their behaviour with your product. On the other hand, you have complete control in your choice of a distributor and his operational matters. A prudent manufacturer should therefore focus on choosing the right distributors.
Some of the key things you have to undertake would be: