Industrial distribution - 28% of net sales 2016
SKF’s distributor network
SKF has the largest industrial distributor network in its industry. SKF does not own its network but works closely with independent distributors who add value through their proximity to customers in all industries; their markets and industry knowledge; and their complementary product offers and ability to fully support customers in various ways, especially regarding service levels. A network of around 7,000 industrial distributor locations reaches over one million customers worldwide. Customers are both endusers and mid-size OEMs. The network has expanded over the years with the addition of specialized distributors in different product categories – for example, lubrication systems and mechatronics – and in different industries such as agriculture and marine. Authorized distributors can receive “Certified Maintenance Partner” status if they provide added value to customers by offering machine inspections, entry-level maintenance and reliability services. SKF is also developing a network of Certified Rebuilders with specialized training and knowledge in motor and pump repairs, with an emphasis on conformance with exact SKF specifications and standards, root cause failure analysis, bearing installation, lubrication and condition monitoring.
Supporting activities and programmes
Industrial distribution is primarily driven by customer needs to receive punctual and reliable deliveries, and to have easy access to a wide range of products and advanced technical expertise and services provided 24/7. SKF supports its distributors in various ways to strengthen all stages in the supply and value chain. Some examples are the development programme “More with SKF”, connection to the Web Customer Link (WCL), the Distributor Interconnectivity Programme (DIP), Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI), and the SKF Distributor College.
- “More with SKF” is the framework for how SKF works with its distributors. It is a systematic programme of sales planning and opportunity management that enables SKF and its distributors to remain focused on profitable growth, working together to meet customers' needs. It contains a set of tools for distributors in several categories like branding, sales and marketing, supply chain, product range management, people development, e-business, quality and value generation.
- Web Customer Link (WCL) connects over 3000 distributors worldwide. Distributors can find information about SKF’s products and place orders, and the system issues invoices and commercial documents to the distributor following each order. WCL is available through both the web and as a mobile app for Apple iOS and Google Android smart phones or other devices.
- The Distributor Interconnectivity Programme (DIP) aims at lowering distributors’ administration costs, optimizing capital employed and providing a better service level. This is mainly accomplished by improving inventory management and introducing collaborative forecasting. The Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) system is a part of the DIP programme. The system recalculates data on a daily basis and proposes purchase orders to replenish inventory to the highest service levels and reduce distributors’ inventory management costs. To date SKF has implemented VMI with major distributors in its Nordic region and in the USA, reaching service levels to end-customers of 98% for planned items in each of these markets.
- SKF Distributor College is an e-learning platform, whose users can attend various courses online.
- The SKF Distributor Value Programme helps to identify and measure the value distributors deliver to their customers. It is based on the same methodology as the SKF Documented Solutions Programme (DSP). The most frequently recorded customer benefits are reduction in downtime due to availability of proper spare parts, inventory level optimization and savings on administration costs.