Seiche Sanders' portraitIn last month’s cover story we shared how distributors are dealing with the frequent and severe price increases from manufacturers. It seems that this year’s SM Buyer’s Guide couldn’t have come at a better time.

We routinely stress how important the relationship is between distributors and their customers, but just as crucial — and perhaps not said enough — is their relationship with suppliers.

For example, navigating price increases is a lot easier for a distributor who is on good terms with his vendors. These terms include paying bills on time, offering to sell a manufacturer’s overstock items and perhaps most important, continuous communication. Distributors that have this type of relationship with manufacturers often can negotiate to reduce or maybe even eliminate certain price increases.

If this isn’t the type of relationship you currently have with manufacturers, start now to change it. Locate your contacts using this guide and begin communicating. If that doesn’t work, page through the guide again to find some potential new partners.

Also keep in mind that the Buyer’s Guide can help strengthen that other partnership, the one with building service contractors and in-house service providers. Use this guide to locate new products that will help them clean faster, cheaper and maybe even “greener.”