Skip to main content

«  View All Posts

Manufacturer v Distributor; Which adhesive supplier should you choose?

Thomas Besley | 3 min. read

Manufacturer or distributor, where should you buy adhesives from?

When it comes to buying an adhesive, there are so many different factors you need to consider. Choosing between a manufacturer or a distributor is a big part of the decision process. Each supplier has its advantages and disadvantages. The difficulty is deciding which supplier is going to be best for you.

Here at Forgeway, we are an adhesive manufacturer. We manufacture and supply over 3000 tonnes of adhesives annually. However, we know that we aren’t a perfect fit for everyone. 

When a customer would be best off buying from a distributor, we would always point them in that direction. This article will go over the benefits and drawbacks of buying from distributors or manufacturers. By the end of the article, you will know whether you should buy your adhesive from a distributor or manufacturer.

What’s the difference between an adhesive manufacturer and an adhesive distributor?

It’s quite self-explanatory. An adhesive manufacturer creates and supplies some or all of its own products. Whilst a manufacturer doesn’t create all of the products they supply, the vast majority of their adhesive products would be their own creation.

On the other hand, an adhesive distributor creates very little to none of the products they supply. They supply a range of different adhesive products from a range of different manufacturers. 

In short, adhesive manufacturers create (most or all of) their own products. Distributors don’t create any (or very few) of the products they supply.

Adhesive manufacturers create their own products

What are the benefits of buying from an adhesive distributor?

Adhesive distributors usually have a broad variety of products 

Unlike manufacturers, distributors don’t have just their own products to sell. Distributors will usually have a variety of different products from a variety of different suppliers. This means you will have more potential products to choose from. More choice means more chances of finding the perfect product for you.

Distributors will almost always have smaller minimum order quantities

Often, manufacturers cannot provide minimum order quantities below 20 units. Distributors can, and if you are not going to be using a large amount of the adhesive product, purchasing little and often will only be possible with a distributor.

Forgeway boxes that are capable of holding 12 cartridges or sausages
Manufacturers don’t provide small order quantities

What are the drawbacks of buying from an adhesive distributor?

Distributors won’t have the same amount of product knowledge

Because they didn’t manufacture the product themselves, the distributor won’t know the full details of the product. Manufacturers will have full knowledge about their products. And anything they don’t already know, they can find out much easier than distributors. This is because manufacturers will often have testing facilities in-house.

Distributors are more susceptible to supply chain issues

Distributors are reliant upon receiving the product from their supplier. Whilst manufacturers still experience supply issues, they are more in control of their supply chain because they make the product themselves.

What are the benefits of buying from an adhesive manufacturer?

Manufacturers can adjust the formulation of the adhesive

Not every adhesive product is perfect. Sometimes you need to make minor adjustments to make it right. Adhesives manufacturers can easily adjust the formulation to meet your exact requirements. 

Weathering resistance, strength, and flexibility are common examples of characteristics that companies like to change in their adhesive.

Manufacturers can offer more after-sales support

Manufacturers will often have facilities and technical knowledge available to answer any questions. If you need to test your adhesives (like extended weathering testing), it’s likely a distributor will not have the facilities for this.

Manufacturers can provide custom packaging

If you need the adhesive product(s) in your own branding, adhesive manufacturers can give you this option. Distributors are usually not able to provide this capability.

Manufacturers can adjust the packaging to suit your requirementsWhat are the drawbacks of buying from an adhesive manufacturer?

Manufacturers can’t offer small order quantities

Manufacturers will rarely be able to accommodate orders below 20 units. They are set up to send out large orders. They will only send out small order quantities under exceptional circumstances.

Manufacturers usually don’t have a broad variety of products

Adhesive manufacturers will only supply products they create themselves. Usually, this means they won’t have the same variety that a distributor can offer.

Adhesive distributor or adhesive manufacturer; who should you buy from?

So now you know the difference, the benefits, and the drawbacks, it’s time to decide which supplier you should buy from. It’s never a simple decision.

Here at Forgeway, we are adhesive manufacturers. We know that customers aren’t always a good fit for us. We recommend buying from a distributor if:

  • You are going to be purchasing small order quantities
  • You want a broad variety of adhesive options

However, you should look at purchasing from a manufacturer if:

  • You want the ability to adjust the formulation
  • You want additional customer support

You may think this article is biased as we are adhesive manufacturers. Nonetheless, we wrote an article to list the other top adhesive manufacturers who could supply you. Click the button below to read the article.

Thomas Besley

Thomas is the Content Manager here at Forgeway. Thomas' job is to translate the technical jargon from the ivory tower of academia into easy-to-read content that everyone can understand. Forgeway's mission is to answer every question our customers and prospective clients ask, or are apprehensive to ask.