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The State of Today’s Manufacturing Industry: How Difficulty Finding Sales Reps is Creating Stagnation

As of mid-2021, the unemployment rate for the U.S. stands at 6.1%. While that number seems impressive given what the country—and the world—has experienced as a result of shutdowns and work stops brought on by COVID-19, the U.S. is still experiencing a labor shortage.

For example, in the manufacturing sector, companies are still having a hard time getting their products on store shelves or in new territories because of a shortage of independent manufacturer reps.

According to Courtney Little, owner and operator of three companies, including Ace Glass Construction, Centerline Systems—a manufacturer—and Ace Glass Recycling in Arkansas, “The country is really hurting from a lack of viable candidates for many industries, especially for companies who are having a hard time finding independent manufacturer sales reps. In the manufacturing industry, we could have upwards of 25% growth tomorrow if we could just find viable, qualified independent sales reps to fill positions in industries across the board.”

“The supply chain is really suffering now because we don’t have enough independent manufacturing reps to get the products we have to the market. In addition, there’s a bottleneck of available products as the necessary supplies (lumber, construction materials, aluminum, gas prices, etc.) have dried up and pushed the prices for the products that are available way up.”

For example, let’s say Manufacturer A—who is a large manufacturer of a certain widget—can’t get the components they need to create enough inventory to get their lines to the customers of their normal distributors or merchant partners. What do reps do? They start looking for alternatives to fill customers’ needs. While there are other manufacturers of similar products who may want representation, there’s a lack of sales reps to shop those products around, hence the gap remains. In addition, connecting with the right sales reps can be hard because it’s a cumbersome process when vendors are trying to find similar products to what they know their customers are looking for.

“There’s really a snowball effect,” says Courtney Little. “It keeps companies from meeting their sales numbers and hinders the planning stage for manufacturers who need to plan for upcoming sales cycles and make accurate predictions for the number of products they’ll need to manufacture going forward.”

“It’s a cycle where no one wins. Consumer confidence plummets as sales numbers look weak and the entire country can begin to experience stagnation.”

How Factrees Can Help Both Business Owners and Manufacturers Connect

The manufacturing and sales industries as a whole have often lagged behind other sectors in the somewhat antiquated way they connect. As other sectors have managed to create larger digital paths to connecting, sales people have relied on what’s always worked for them in the past…things like meetups at sales conventions, word of mouth, limited Internet searches, making endless calls, etc.

But what if there was a way for business owners and manufacturers alike to take their connection process to an entirely new level. Now there is, it’s called Factrees.

Per Courtney, “Factrees could not have come along at a better time. As the country tries to bounce back from a year of uncertainty, the platform provides a one-stop shop for both manufacturers and sales reps to make the right connections. The platform creates a big national, and even global, opportunity for us to level out supply and demand changes in lots of places, which is good for everybody.”

He continued, “Right now, if I’m a rep who’s desperate for product alternatives because my go-to lines aren’t available or predictable, what do I do? I start looking for other providers of similar products to keep my customers happy.”

That process would normally be cold calls, unending Internet searches to find viable independent sales reps, or pestering contacts for new names…any names that might help them make connections to the right people.

“With Factrees, I can sit down in a single morning and look for independent sales reps whose experience matches the types of products I manufacture and want to get to end users. It really makes it easy to expand my reach in other parts of the country and in vertical markets,” says Courtney.

“I can email 10 potential new contacts in the span of a few hours by simply searching Factrees’ database of sales reps. By that afternoon, I may have new contacts lining up to represent the glass products my company manufactures.”

“Factrees has taken the dread out of the question ‘how do I find qualified independent sales reps who are eager to represent new lines?’” I can devote a day or two a week to looking for new markets and reps and then let the platform help me make connections.

“By having access to sales rep reviews, a snapshot of the markets they’re located in and a host of other information, I can see whose profile fits my business’ needs.”

Factrees: A New and Efficient Way to Find Manufacturer Reps for Your Lines

When you spend less time looking for new sales reps, you can devote more time to creating new lines and growing your business. Factrees is the new and efficient way to connect on so many levels.

Meet Courtney Little

As a business owner of three companies that cover several aspects of Glass Manufacturing and Recycling, Courtney has a large footprint with company and vendor relationships in Arkansas, California, Missouri, Oklahoma, New York, and Texas. His history includes stints in investment banking, insurance, and as a licensed attorney in several states. He now runs his family-owned business, where he has created a growth strategy that covers manufacturing, fabrication, assembly, and installation in both large commercial and some residential projects. As with any seasoned business owner, Courtney attributes his success with “building ongoing relationships that grow and prosper over time.”