Have you heard the term ‘hardware sales agent’?Remember the old days where you would walk to the hardware store just down on the road and the man who served you actually owned the store?Those days are now history as the hardware retail giants have been rolling out massive hardware warehouses all across the country. You can buy just about anything that is remotely connected to hardware in these massive warehouse stores. From light globes to terracotta plant pots and outdoor garden settings to mailboxes; they are all available in warehouse retail centres with some stores up to 50 aisles and more.With 1000’s of product lines to manage from 100’s of manufactures and suppliers, the retail giants have insisted on using sales management companies called hardware sales agents to provide fulfilment and management services. These services are generally tuned to the needs and requirements of the big retailers logistics systems.The manufacturer and supplier does not need to concern itself with store stock levels of it’s products in all stores around the country as this is maintained by the hardware sales agent. The agent has merchandise staff who call into the hardware retail stores all around the country on behalf of the manufacturer and or supplier. These merchandise staff are required to maintain stock levels of the specific suppliers products and also maintain the shelf presentation of these products as the retailers expect the merchandise staff to keep the shelves and aisles tidy, clean and presentable for the customer.The hardware sales agent can also assist the supplier to plan for the amount of stock required by the retailers by providing detailed reporting. Other critical services can include market share reporting and telemarketing. Some agents have highly skilled executives that are able to assist in increasing sales by developing extensive marketing plans and programs.Hardware sales agents can work on a commission basis of a fixed fee. This may depend on the level of sales activity or turnover so a fair outcome can be achieved for both the supplier and the agent.A big advantage to the hardware supplier is that many costs associated with getting the product onto the retail shelf like merchanise staff superannuation, motor vehicle expenses is being absorbed by the hardware sales agent and included in their fees.The hardware sales agent now plays a critical role in the massive hardware retail industry. A supplier cannot possibly service hundreds of hardware stores across the country without engaging the services of a hardware agent.