5 Ways a Master Distributor Can Streamline Your Supply Chain

By Meredith Crabtree | September 6th, 2019

The health and stability of your supply chain is essential to success, no matter the size of your business. There are statistics to prove it too.

Among organizations with superior supply-chain capabilities, 79% experienced significantly above-average revenue growth, according to a 2014 Deloitte supply-chain leadership report. Only 8% of lower-performing supply chains did.

Partnering with a master distributor can help manufacturers in the animal health space — a marketplace weighted with regulations, complex licensure laws, costly shipping, and product sensitivity — hyper-effectively streamline their supply chain from beginning to end. This includes batching large shipments, covering nationwide licensures, handling ever-shifting regulations, and managing distribution until it gets to the end user — the pet — and assuring quality control at every step of the way.

Here are five ways you can make your business more streamlined, more efficient, and more powerful with the help of a master distributor:

1. Lessen Licensing Woes

Enlisting the help of a master distributor is a good financial move that can ease the burden of keeping up with state licensures necessary for shipping prescriptions, medical devices, and controlled substances across the U.S.

Every state follows individual licensing requirements for animal health products, and their annual fees range from $50 to a hefty $750. A good master distributor can shoulder those costs for you across all 50 states. You’ll only have to deal with shipping to one state — the location of your master distributor — and they’ll handle the distribution and freight from there.

2. Keep Up With Regulations

This streamlined approach to shipping saves your company not just the licensing costs but also the time and manpower it takes to acquire and maintain those licenses, which are constantly changing.

It can take time to fill out the applications for each state, some of which require an appointed representative who takes ownership of the associated legalities and regulations. It’s important to designate someone on your team — or, even better, a trusted partner whose job it is to be an expert in this — to handle licensures and also track and maintain them as requirements change.

At the time of this writing, this month alone two states have changed their licensing requirements.

Partnering with a master distributor who keeps a pulse on state licensing laws throughout the U.S. — and manages it all for you — can give your company an advantage over competitors. This way, you aren’t halting production when state laws inevitably shift.

3. Simplify Shipping

There are several other payoffs to this simplified approach to shipping.

Because you only need to ship to your master distributor’s state — for instance, EPiQ Animal Health’s Dublin, Ohio, third-party logistics warehouse, which is temperature-controlled and secure — you have the assurance by a trusted partner that your freight is being handled properly and will make it to the next hands safely, eliminating the potential hurdles of misplaced or damaged product.

Master distributors are also able to batch large shipments and negotiate better rates to get your products across the country faster.

4. Control Quality

Once your product gets shipped out across the country, it’s important that the smaller distributors who will get it into vet practices know how to handle, understand, and sell what you’ve worked so hard to build.

Master distributors can connect your product with a vast pool of distributors they’ve built relationships with on your behalf, taking another resource-consuming necessity off your hands. But it’s not just getting your product to the next hands safely that’s important.

It’s also getting it to the right hands and making sure it doesn’t go any further via product diversion. This can be a huge pain point for manufacturers in animal health, who need to ensure that their end users — beloved pets — don’t have adverse experiences with their products.

5. Detect Diversion

Right now, your products could have unresolved customer complaints or poor reviews that you don’t know about.

How does this happen? If a product is diverted, it may pop up for sale on major online retailers’ sites without a company’s prior approval — or knowledge.

In this case, no one has ensured proper use, and the manufacturer would have no way of knowing if a pet has an adverse reaction — or if the pet owner has left a complaint. Not only is this bad for the pet and for the manufacturer, but it could also expose the company to a public relations kerfuffle — or even a potential lawsuit.

A master distributor can make sure products don’t get resold in the wrong places by building relationships with major online retailers and requiring contracts promising not to buy your products unless sold exclusively from your master distributor.

This helps prevent product dilution, ensure proper use, and eliminate the repercussions of unattended customer complaints.

Animal health manufacturers face a complex and constantly-evolving supply chain. But the right strategy and the right partners can help you get your product where it needs to go.

If you’re interested in taking the next step toward streamlining your supply chain, EPiQ Animal Health can help you evaluate how our services as a master distributor can benefit your business.


About the Author

Meredith Crabtree is regulatory and quality affairs manager at EPiQ Animal Health. She brings more than 15 years of quality and regulatory expertise to her role, with major focus on the Food and Drug Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Prisons, and the International Organization for Standardization, as well as standards in a variety of industries, including animal health distribution, medical laboratory, blood and tissue manufacturing, and consumer goods manufacturing and distribution. Meredith has an associate’s degree in medical lab technology and is working on her bachelor’s degree in health care administration through Southern New Hampshire University. In her spare time, she spends time with her husband, her four daughters, and her grandkids.
Meredith Crabtree
Regulatory and Quality Affairs Manager

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