Given all of the consolidation with the jan/san distribution sector that has recently occurred, creating a private label or brand can be a way to generate brand loyalty.

“With all of the ‘ma and pa’ jan/san distributors going away and being bought up by the larger companies and the larger companies getting involved in the arena, customers will be able to buy [national brand] dish soap … from anyone of those people,” says Patton. “But they can only buy X, Y or Z brand product from company X, Y and Z.”

Older distributors are better suited to take on private labels or brands than younger ones, because more experienced businesses have built rapport and trust with their clients, says Caswell. A strong rapport with clients allows distributors to build their private labels or brands based on their clients’ needs and product uses.

The key to success during any private label or brand initiative is for distributors to focus on their strengths and not try to compensate for their weaknesses, says Caswell.
“Private brand the areas where you turn a good volume,” he says.

If distributors choose to create private brands or labels around products that do not perform well in their respective markets then the yield on their investments will not be realized as much as if they were to otherwise privatize strong-selling products, says Caswell.

There can be a lot to consider for those jan/san distributors interested in private labeling. But if a they’ve done their due diligence and weighed all of their options, it can often prove worthwhile.

“When you look at all of the brand name products that are out there and how commoditized they have become,” says Patton, “it makes it the perfect time and the thing that makes the most sense to do in trying to offer your customers something a little bit different.” 

Brendan O’Brien is a freelance writer based in Greenfield, Wisconsin. He is a frequent contributor to Sanitary Maintenance.

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