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Supplier Network

This month’s question:

How are you treating pricing in your 2009 catalogs? Are you warning distributors about the possibility of mid-year changes? Or, are you telling distributors to call for current pricing or check a Web site for up-to-date pricing? Do you see annual price codes as a thing of the past?

Goodbye Catalogs
My company has ceased producing a print catalog for two reasons. First, distributors use online reference catalogs to check and compare suppliers’ prices immediately, instead of rummaging through file cabinets full of catalogs. A print catalog is a thing of the past. Secondly, year-long price guarantees are also a thing of the past, and print catalogs today are very expensive. Years ago, trade shows were the place to hand out catalogs and check competitors’ prices. Today, nobody wants to lug catalogs home and competitors’ prices can always be found on the Internet. Because our company deals in plastic bags, which are ever-rising in price, we can’t guarantee prices even for 90 days, so we refer distributors to our Web site to check our current prices.

Zal Puchkoff
The Plastic Man (asi/78380)
Charlotte, NC

Business As Usual
I expect that we’ll follow our usual course for 2009 pricing: publish our price list at the beginning of the year when we release our newest catalogs. These prices would be based on the manufacturing and transportation costs available at the time prices are calculated. Our price list carries a “prices subject to change without notice” disclaimer. Customers placing orders before the price change are given the original price but any reorders of affected goods are at the new price. Price change notifications are handled on a case-by-case basis. 

Donna Daub
Outback Trading Co. (asi/75401)
Oxford, PA

Inevitable Price Shifts
We are taking a price increase effective January 1, 2009. At this time, based on our suppliers’ comments, and the possibility of the economy remaining stagnant, or worsening, we expect we may be forced to take a mid-year increase as well. If we do that, we will update pricing on our Web site, and refer our customers to the site. Obviously, for any long term customer commitments or co-op programs, any pricing agreed to previously will be honored for the entire year.

Ray Mancari
Sabina (asi/84470)
Toledo, OH

No Print Catalogs
We work in metal and our supply costs have been volatile for several years. We have not printed an annual catalog for some years as the costs can’t be justified. As all our products are custom, we can utilize the same catalog book and add an annual price update sheet that works as an insert and is sent with each catalog. We re-evaluate at midyear and reprint the insert if required. Web site updates occur at the same time. We note that prices are subject to change without notice so we advise people to call for price verification. We are in a new era. Distributors need to get used to this and make it a part of their daily procedures.

Todd Galanter
Horizon Designs (asi/61750)
Milwaukee, WI

The Survival Of Price Codes
We are wrestling with the price stability issue right now. We plan to print a 2009 catalog and stick with pricing for the entire year. We will have a mention in our General Information that our Web site has the most current pricing and to check there or call us to verify pricing. If a mid-year change is necessary we will notify our distributors at least 30 days before implementing a change. Hopefully we can make it through the year with no price changes, but have no control over many of our costs. I do not believe that annual price codes are history, but until the business environment settles down this is the world in which we must operate.

Steven Weinstein
EMT (asi/52263)
Indianapolis, IN

Monitor Prices Closely
Every week it seems one of our suppliers of raw materials is increasing prices on their products. These increases usually take effect immediately without any prior warning to us. It was therefore necessary for us to update our prices to distributors three months early. These prices became effective October 1, 2008 rather than January 1, 2009. Via our quarterly newsletter, our active dealers were notified in August of this upcoming event. During this volatile time, we have made this new pricing to be good through May 31, 2009. Hopefully we will be able to continue it throughout 2009. We always recommend calling in for current pricing.

Carolyn Hollinger
Troy Sunshade Company (asi/92252)
Greenville, OH

The Death Of Price Codes
I do feel that an annual publication that includes pricing is a thing of the past. We are doing a no-pricing catalog for 2009. This year the value of the dollar compared to the Chinese RMB went down by about 15% and freight increased by about 10%. To put it frankly, our catalog that was printed at the beginning of this year will still burn us until January 1, 2009, as we still honor the prices. The ’09 catalog will reference the ability to get current (list) pricing on our Web site. When sending catalogs to distributors, we will include price-sheet inserts that describe current pricing (updated once a month or upon necessity). The decision to make this change revolved around two main points. First, it prevents the aforementioned situation of mid-year cost increases without price increases. Second, it greatly increases the longevity of our catalog as a marketing tool.

Benn Chazan
BamBams LLC (asi/38228)
Lortan, VA

New Prices With Catalogs
We are raising prices across the board for next year and putting them in the catalog. We don’t change prices mid-year. I have been informing distributors at shows and when they order that the prices will increase for next year. I’m sure most distributors are expecting this due to the economy.

Theresa Land
Pacific Handy Cutter (asi/75650)
Costa Mesa, CA

 
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