Manufacturer Vs. Distributor: Is it ever possible to get the best of both worlds?

As e-commerce becomes ever more popular there’s no denying that more engineers than ever before are turning to the internet to source standard parts and machine tool accessories. Often offered at competitive prices and with quick lead times it’s easy to understand why. But, with so many online distributors to choose from, how do you know you’re getting a product you can trust?

Chris Putman, Sales and Marketing Director for WDS Components, explains why ordering direct from the manufacturer often allows you to benefit from the best prices, the best delivery times and the best product.


Across many different industrial sectors the WDS standard parts catalogue is held in high regard by design, installation and maintenance engineers alike. The reason for this is simple, as a company we’ve spent the last 60 years building up a stock portfolio of over 20,000 individual parts across a multitude of ranges. Of course the real secret to our success is that, unlike other distributors, we’ve invested heavily in our own manufacturing facilities, which means that we’re responsible for producing the majority of our products.

Often engineers wouldn’t think to source these sorts of components directly from the manufacturer; assuming that it will be easier to order parts from a central resource rather than opening accounts with multiple channels. While it’s a completely valid view point, the fact remains that when you order from a distributor it’s highly possible that no two parts you order will be made in the same factory. This begs the question, is there a better solution?

While all respectable distributors work hard to ensure the quality of the components they source, they have no real control over the materials used and the manufacturing processes chosen. Trying to keep track of the quality of hundreds of different manufacturers all over the world is a hard task, and it’s inevitable that production standards may drop and faults develop in some product lines. Delivery lead times are also fickle, completely reliant on the stocking policy of the distributor and the manufacturing speeds of individual factories.

When you order direct from the manufacturer you are cutting out the middle man. For WDS, one of the key benefits that we can offer is the control of quality with every production run and the ability to adjust our production schedules to meet demand. If you phone us on Monday with an order we can tell you the same day if it’s in stock and the precise delivery date. What’s more, you know that you will receive the exact part you ordered, not a substitute.

A further advantage of having in-house manufacturing and engineering expertise is that we are able to customise our standard parts to meet bespoke requirements. Engineers can simply call our sales team and they will work in partnership with our production engineers to build a CAD model to reflect the customisation you need. Then, once approved, your part will be added to the production schedule.

While the benefits of ordering multiple products from a single source are undeniable, the benefits of ordering direct from the manufacturer are also highly valid. WDS is one of very few manufacturers with a product range that is wide enough to truly offer the best of both worlds. I’d encourage engineers from all industries to take a look at our diverse product range – it may end up being the only place they need to look.


WDS Component Parts Limited :  Sarah Gray

Tel: +44 (0)113 2909852 Fax: +44 (0)845 601 1173



Address: Richardshaw Road Grangefield Industrial Estate, Pudsey Leeds, LS28 6LE