Back in the 1970s and 1980s, I managed a division that manufactured complex machines called palletizers. Our sales organization for the U.S. was independent rep firms, and it worked pretty well. The customers did not know very much about the machines, and they had corporate engineering departments that did the buying and engineering. The rep’s job was much simpler and only required gathering a little information and presenting the factory quote.
I came back to Columbia Machine in 1999 as general manager of the same division but found that everything had changed. The Fortune 500 companies (our customers) had completely … Read the rest