Posts Tagged "Middleman"

Direct Auto Sales Fight in North Carolina

Posted by on May 27, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

A fight in North Carolina between the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association  and automaker Tesla may soon be settled by the state legislature.




Per the Chris Kardish Associated Press article,

It’s the latest such battle for California-based Tesla, which like other car manufacturers must navigate a patchwork of state laws dictating how its vehicles can be sold. Nearly all states – 48 – require manufacturers to sell their vehicles through dealerships to ensure the companies don’t undercut their own network of franchised dealers, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association.

Tesla says it is cutting out the middleman by allowing people to view different options in a showroom, but then ordering the car direct from the company online rather than buying from a salesman. That approach also allows it to bypass state laws regarding franchised dealers, which have been in place for decades. However, lobbying groups say franchise dealers invest more locally and provide customer service that Tesla cannot.

The bill in North Carolina was mostly routine, simply updating the law governing the relationship between automakers and dealers. But it also changes the law to subject electronic sales to the same scrutiny. It has been unanimously approved by the Senate; the company is set to sit down with the state lobbying group for dealers, the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, to discuss a compromise that both sides say is unlikely to be reached. .

Tesla doesn’t yet have a showroom in North Carolina, where it has sold about 80 cars to date. The company recently announced the first quarterly profit in its 10-year history, around the same time Consumer Reports gave its Model S electric sedan a near-perfect rating.

Tesla currently operates 29 stores and galleries across 14 states and Washington, D.C. Customers can order a car online at a sales location or at home but not at galleries, which exist purely to showcase cars in states where auto dealers have launched suits or state law restricts the company from discussing sales in person.

Colorado was the first state to take action against the manufacturer’s stores, passing legislation in 2010 that halts their expansion. Since then, Minnesota lawmakers unsuccessfully pushed for a similar measure. In New York and Massachusetts, dealers have unsuccessfully sued to shut down the dealer’s stores. In Virginia, a judge recently rejected Tesla’s request for an exception to laws that prevent manufacturers from operating dealerships in most cases.

But the automaker can sell in every state because transactions legally take place in California. The North Carolina law, however, prevents customers in the state from making electronic purchases directly through manufacturers, said Diarmuid O’Connell, Tesla’s vice president of business development.

“This would be the first place to my knowledge that Internet-based communications with our company would be circumscribed,” he said.

Tesla, as a upstart automaker, has worked to build a successful business by selling direct to their customer.  This benefits Tesla by removing the requirement of building a large distribution and sales network.  It has largely proved successful, and is a model for other upstart manufacturing companies to follow.

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Nine Reasons to Sell Direct to Consumers

Posted by on Oct 31, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Basic civilizations in history have been organized into communities where goods were made locally and sold or traded directly to the end consumer.  The American Industrial Revolution pushed the business world into complex supply chains that create many problems for the people in the world that actually do the producing.  Consumers have become distant from the producers and have generally lost touch.

The customers of your business spend money on your goods to solve a perceived problem.  In general for the last 80 years, American consumers make these purchases at some form of retail store.  The retail store buys it from a wholesaler who buys it from a manufacturer.  Several additional steps may be involved.  Each step requires time, transport, and money to exchange hands, along with earning that entity a profit.  The actual product manufacturers become distant from the end consumer that will use their product.

As a manufacturer, why would you not shorten the cycle and sell directly to the end consumer?

There are several reasons that this strategy would make good sense.


1. NO Middleman/Middlemen.

  • Remove distributors that do not understand your products and service.
  • Allow end customer to get the same pricing regardless of their geographical location

2. More profit.

  • Stop losing profit margin to distributors, wholesalers, retail outlets, etc.
  • Lower costs due to extra shipping, handling, paperwork, etc.

3. Less redundancy in customer service.

  • Manufacturers already provide customer service to wholesalers/distributors.  Instead, provide it directly to end users thereby streamlining the system required for consumers to get help for their problems.
  • Improvement in customer satisfaction.

4. Simplicity.

  • Fewer intermediaries between the manufacturer and the consumer.  Long periods of human history required the makers to work directly for their customers.  For example,
    • i.      Sawmills sold their lumber directly to people building homes and barns.
      ii.      Blacksmiths formed horseshoes directly for horse owners.
      iii.      Farmers took food to the market to sell to the hungry masses.
  • The shorter value stream will have fewer steps, simpler logistics, and lower inventory in the system.
  • Lower Supply Chain inventory reduces cost should there be quality control problems.

5. Faster payment.

  • Shorter supply chains require fewer entities through which to pass money.
  • Many distributors only pay the manufacturer when they get paid.   As products get to the end consumer in a faster manner and the payment is collected sooner, the cashflow cycle is much shorter.

6. Competition.

  • Distributors will not be selling your product directly alongside your competitor’s product.

7. Everybody else is doing it.


8. Technology allows it.

  • We are in the 21st century.  Computers and the internet have made the world smaller.  Online marketing can quickly direct customers to your website, answer their questions, and provide a method for them to place an order and satisfy payment.
  • Quote requests for custom products and orders for off the shelf items can be submitted 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, collected in one location, and be answered in a timely fashion.
  • Modern and efficient shipping methods allow for goods to be moved long distances in a fast manner and delivered directly to the best point for goods transfer to the end customer, usually their front door.

9. Faster response to market changes.

  • End consumers communicating directly with the manufacturer can quickly provide feedback for changes and improvements.  Low supply chain inventory allows for product update cycles to occur quickly and efficiently.

Wholesalers, retailers, distributors, etc all play important roles in a supply chain to the customer.  They can be removed, but their function must be replaced.  Things like marketing, advertising, collecting payment, shipping, etc. must all be handled in order to provide a positive customer experience.

Industrial Revolution changes pushed the business world into complex supply chains that create many problems for the businesses in the world that actually do the producing.  Consumers became distant from the producers and many times have lost touch.  Modern technology has advanced to create a world where mass producers can again sell directly to consumers around the world and be successful.  Companies large and small are doing it, shouldn’t you?

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