How do we manage direct distribution?

One question I have been asking myself lately is, contrary to industry popular belief, is it possible to manage a large number of customers without the use of traditional food distribution channels.

It seems like gaining access to large scale distribution channels is the defacto measure of success in the cpg industry. By default, success is defined by giving control of sales, order fulfillment, promotional negotiation and customer interaction to a third party. From an ownership standpoint, it does not make alot of sense that we are outsourcing two out of three of our core competencies.

How can we build a successful network of engaged customers, communicate, efficiently manage orders and ship efficiently? Is this possible? I think so.

We are going to start by building a more effective way to communicate with our customers. In my eyes, this aspect should be separated yet integrated with the customers ability to place orders. Our customers are both retail stores and the people eating our almonds. How do we know what is working? How do we know what they like? How can they easily tell us?

Can we do this without the use of email. Can we get immediate feedback on the latest order. How did it arrive. Was it on time. How is it being presented. Would a sampling allowance help it to sell better.

Any way we can better communicate without being intrusive is going to be a step in the right direction. Let us know what we can do to make the communication process more pleasant. Thanks.

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