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How to have efficient product distribution for your small business

Product distribution is an essential function for your small business. How well your small business is able to get their products to market will in large part determine how successful their sales are. Nothing is worse then exciting your customers about your product only to have them rush to a store or get on your website and find that they can't get what you have been promising them. It is essential that small businesses have a plan that will enable their products to move smoothly from the warehouse or manufacturer to their stores, whether on or offline. Here is what you need to know about how to have efficient product distribution for your small business-

- Start with a plan-Just like any other function within your small business your product distribution should be based on a researched and well written plan. You should never simply assume that product distribution will just happen. While you are deciding what type of plan to put into place it can be helpful to talk to other small business owners about their distribution strategies and methods. Be sure to ask what works and what hasn't worked. This will enable you to determine what type of distribution plan will work for your small business based on experience and the benefit of learning from someone else's mistakes. It is crucial that when you are designing your product distribution plan that you figure in sufficient time for shipping. You will need to allow ample time for products to come from the warehouse and the manufacturer. Keep in mind that if you don't do this and your shelves end up bare it can do serious damage to the reputation of your small business. You won't end up just losing money, but customers and creditability, as well.
- Plan for the unexpected-Even the best made plans can easily go off track. As a small business owner you should always keep one eye focused on the possibility of problems. While you don't need to assume that something will go wrong if you are aware of the situation it can help you to be able to respond quicker to a product distribution problem. Experience has shown that there are some product distribution problems that are more common then others. Many times shipments can be lost while going from the warehouse to the store or in between stores. It is important that you know how to respond should this happen to one or more of your product shipments. It is crucial to cultivate a positive relationship with the management of the warehouse and/or the manufacturer so they will be more likely to help you track down lost shipments should this occur.
- Use the right technology-Today, there is no need to completely rely on paperwork to keep track of products. There is a wide variety of software programs that will allow the small business to keep track of their product shipments. These software programs will not only allow for the identification of product but they can track down shipping dates, locations, and even the types of container the product was shipped in. Best of all, there are many of these product distribution software programs that are industry specific which means a small business can pick the program that deals with the type of product that they sell. Small business owners would do well to have this type of software on hand so that they can keep a close eye on how their product is being distributed at all times and head off problems before they happen. It is also important to know that most of these software programs are very affordable which makes them a valuable tool for any small business to have.

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