Distribution consultant Frank Hurtte of River Heights Consulting, Davenport, Iowa, has long been an advocate for change in the way distributors get paid for the services they provide. Back in his days as a branch manager of a leading Iowa distributor, he was adamant that distributors needed to reduce their dependence on cost-plus mark-ups on products and emphasize getting paid for the services they provide to make their customers more successful.
Now Hurtte, a frequent contributor to Electrical Wholesaling, has put pen to paper and detailed how distributors can make the shift and get paid for the value they add. In The Distributor's Fee-Based Services Manifesto, Hurtte carefully spells out why distributors without a plan for recouping the cost of their service will be forced to either unilaterally reduce the quantity of service (sometimes via layoffs) or absorb the cost. The distributor without a fee plan makes less money during the good times, grows slower in relation to their competitors and over time becomes less resilient in the market space, he says.
“Writing a book isn’t some massive money making proposition for a consultant," Hurtte says. "It’s a labor of love. My father was a distributor. His company and hundreds of others like his went the way of the dinosaur. In their case, they couldn’t imagine how quickly their industry would change. The Distributor's Fee-Based Services Manifesto is a heart-felt message to my friends and colleagues in an industry that I love. I want to see you and your companies thrive into the next generation.”