Distributors play a key role in the plastics industry.

Whether your organisation is an OEM or a manufacturer, there is much it can gain from establishing a close working relationship with your local EPDA distributors. The following will provide a clearer understanding of the role of the distributor vs. the role of the manufacturer.

Distributors essentially act as an extension of the sales function. They act as selling agents for suppliers and buying agents for customers in geographically defined markets.

They allow the manufacturer to store inventory in various locations at a minimal cost. This local inventory benefits the customer as well. Distributors work with multiple manufacturers, making it easier for the customer to find the desired product. Buying through the distributor also minimises the need to store inventory.

A key difference between working with a distributor is the post-sales support they provide. They are organised so as to service the customer ongoing. For example, they are an excellent source of technical information. They have access to multiple sources through manufacturers, other distributors, and the EPDA. They are well positioned to counsel the customer on everything from selecting the optimum plastic material for a specific application to addressing an issue with installing it.

Manufacturers specialise in producing products that are not readily available in the marketplace and work with distributors to make products readily available to local markets. Together, distributors and manufacturers develop customer-focused goals that are mutually beneficial and realistic under the conditions within their industry.

Why Do Business with an EPDA Member?

By working with distributors and manufacturers that are EPDA members, all parties involved can be assured they are working with individuals with a commitment to the plastics industry and with the mutual goal of strengthening the industry as a whole and increasing the opportunities for all.

Suppliers and manufacturers sometimes feel they can bypass the plastics distributors and save money. There are, however, many hidden costs in assuming the distribution functions, costs which may make it more profitable for a supplier to sell through plastics distributors. Suppliers may be able to bypass distributors, but they cannot bypass the cost of distribution.

Value Added Services

Distributors have become masters of assembly, modification and reconfiguration of standard products. This extra value translates to better service for the customer.


Production lines must be constantly running, but manufacturers need a minimum investment in inventory to stay in business. Distributors are able to deliver product quickly by handling the large inventory that manufacturers are unable to handle.

Personal Relationships

Plastics distributors are ideally suited to invest in long-term, trusting relationships with regional customers. The cost to a supplier to build and maintain these same relationships woule be much higher.

Quality Products

Multiple suppliers give distributors the capability to supply a broader range of products. Also, distributors are not supported by a proprietary product, which means customers can rest assured they will get the product they want and the service they need.