Today's Veterinary Business

JUN 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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61 June/July 2018 • TODAYSVETERINARYBUSINESS.COM Merchandising SUPPLIERS They're on your team Distributors deliver more than products. The services they provide can improve a veterinary practice's bottom line. As a hospital owner or manager, you need to understand not only what motivates and challenges your patients and clients, but also what motivates and challenges your suppliers. The more a prac- tice decision-maker knows about suppliers, the more effective the companies can be during negotiations and the more likely a practice can benefit from their services. Suppliers are willing and able to do a lot more than sell equip- ment, products and services. They can help veterinary businesses perform better. So take advantage of it. That part is often free. Defining Distribution But first, let's distinguish manufacturer supply representatives from distributor supply representatives. For the most part, manufacturer reps work directly for the companies that make the products that animal health practitioners use. More than 500 manufacturers of animal health products serve the U.S. veterinary market. Distributor reps, for the most part, work for distribution compa- nies and serve as a liaison between manufacturers and the nearly 26,000 U.S. veterinary practices. Veterinary professionals are a shared customer to manufacturers and distributors. They both want to provide veterinarians with excellent products and services. There's another entity in the animal health supply chain referred to as buying groups. These groups aggregate purchasing power on behalf of veterinary practices in order to provide large-volume discounts. Distributors, on the other hand, aggregate thousands of products so veterinary customers can place a single order for what they need, all from one source. Distributors then pick, pack, ship, invoice and collect payment. Generally speaking, manufacturers focus on the research and processes needed to make high-quality and often lifesaving products, while distributors focus on making sure these valuable products get to veterinary professionals and their patients. To do that, distributors employ inside sales and customer service representatives. These are By Rachel Bailey

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