The vaporizer industry is characterized by high degrees of new product introductions, relatively short product life cycles, high levels of competition, and the required speed to market. Distributors must compete not only on the price, quality, and features of their products, but also on related customer service strategies. Developing an appealing product line is essential, but if they are not supplied to customers when, where, and how they want them, vape distributors will under perform.
An effective supply chain is key to delivering on the promise of getting the right products, to the right places, and in the right quantities, at the right time. Failure to do so will result in lost sales, limited operating margins, and ultimately disgruntled vape stores.
Understand what the market is demanding.
In every business, research should be the driver behind decision making. Understanding the needs of different market segments is essential to keep shelves stocked with the products that customers want. It should never be the case that vape distributors try to dictate to the markets what it needs or believe that the market will align with their needs.
Distributors should have a diversified portfolio of products to present vape stores with. Different stores will have different target markets with a variety of budgets and demands. Ensuring their demands are met and that their customers get what they want is the best way for distributors to keep vape stores happy.
Every market is different and should be treated as such. Using sales data to determine product lines, forecast stock levels, and develop a well rounded portfolio helps distributors customise their offering and avoid treating vape shops with a “one size fits all” approach.
Build VISIBILITY into every part of the supply chain.
The end game for every vape distributor should be to get closer to the customer i.e. develop customer intimacy. The cost of not getting closer is reduced accuracy in demand forecasts and eroded margins. Building visibility into the vape supply chain means sharing information and developing clear effective channels of communication.
Improving the alignment with vape shops gives distributors access to “sell thru” data which allows them to see beyond the next purchase order. This means better planning, deeper insight into what each store requires, and visibility into threats and opportunities in the supply chain.
Getting access the right information is one thing. Getting access to it at the right time is another. Timely insight creates more effective decision making throughout the supply chain and allows the supply chain, as a whole, to adapt to changing demands.
Improve logistics agility.
Managing an extended logistics network comes with its challenges; it is fundamentally a multi-party process fraught with unpredictable lead times, costs and risks. The relationship between cost and flexibility is an essential consideration for vape distributors.
Rather than create the absolute-lowest-cost fixed network, distributors should build in more points of flexibility. This helps them continually scan their environment for bottleneck symptoms or spikes in demand and take action.
The ability to adapt to a continuously evolving environment is what sets the best distributors apart. As the supply chain is pressured for faster deliveries and lower costs, while dealing with international borders and unpredictable weather patterns it becomes inevitable that delays will occur at some point in the process. Agility in the supply chain mitigate these risks and leave ensures a more robust and healthy network.
Vape distributors find themselves in a highly competitive industry where survival depends not only on getting the right products to the right customers at the right time but also on the level of service they deliver to the vape stores they supply.
Understanding and segmenting demand, creating clear transparent and flexible supply chain models, and striving to solve the demand/supply challenge in real time are ways for vape distributors to harmonize their supply chains and create ultimately create happy vape stores!