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Facing the Forces of Change®: Reimagining Distribution in a Connected World

Guy Blissett, Paul St. Germain

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Facing the Forces of Change® is the only major research study analyzing the future of wholesale distribution within multiple lines of trade. Since its inception in 1982, the landmark Facing the Forces of Change® series continues to provide insights about the overall future of wholesale distribution and the role of wholesaler-distributors. 

As this 10th edition—Facing the Forces of Change®: Reimagining Distribution in a Connected World—highlights, there is no shortage of “forces of change” that will impact distributors over the next few years and transform the industry. There is also no shortage of opportunities for distributors to embrace and leverage these forces. This study outlines

  • the economic challenges that continue to shape the business landscape by Alan Beaulieu
  • the ways in which technological advances and the connected world are changing distributor operations now and for the next few years
  • the new role that distributors must play in this connected world
  • the ongoing need for business analytics and an advanced understanding of how they can help distributors meet their objectives
  • some of the key emerging trends that will shape business—and our lives—in the not-too-distant future
  • a look back at the previous edition to see how far we have come in understanding the forces that are shaping wholesale distribution.

This study can help you take steps to plan, prepare, and execute strategies to capitalize on the forces of change. Read and reread it. Discuss it with your top executives, managers, and other staff. Develop short-term and long-term strategies that anticipate the trends and ultimately drive business growth and customer value.

NEW: A macroeconomic outlook from NAW Senior Economic Advisor Alan Beaulieu is included in Facing the Forces of Change®.


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What Readers Have to Say

"In my opinion, this 10th edition of Facing the Forces of Change is the best one so far. With insightful commentary and practical examples, it shows how technology is transforming our business environment and our customers’ expectations. Distribution leaders across all lines of trade can use this report as a framework for making strategic decisions that will have a long-term impact on their relevance to their customers and the success of their companies. I highly recommend it."
— Kathy Mazzarella, Chairman, President, and CEO, Graybar Electric Co., Inc.
"I expected to blast quickly through this latest Facing the Forces of Change report. However, the number of ideas crammed into every paragraph and reinforced with real-world distributor examples forced me to slow down and really think about what was being said and how it was potentially applicable to my business. That’s exciting, because today it is all too rare for business books to fire the imagination the way this one does."
— Dan Blaylock, President, Adams-Burch Inc.

Extended Description

What's inside:

  • A macroeconomic outlook from NAW Senior Economic Advisor Alan Beaulieu
  • A straightforward presentation of the major trends
  • In-depth management discussion questions
  • Time-bucketed action ideas that executives and managers can implement in their companies right away
  • Data from surveys and research focused on trends in wholesale distribution
  • Insights from a broader range of industry leaders in six key functional areas: CEO, president, owner; operations; sales and marketing; finance; information technology; and human resources.

About the Authors

Guy Blissett

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Guy is author of Facing the Forces of Change®: Reimagining Distribution in a Connected World, the finest trends research study on the future of wholesale distribution. He also authored the previous edition, Facing the Forces of Change®: Decisive Actions for an Uncertain Economy.

Paul St. Germain

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Paul is the author of the Addendum and assisted in the researching and writing of Facing the Forces of Change®: Reimagining Distribution in a Connected World and Facing the Forces of Change®: Decisive Actions for an Uncertain Economy. As the Industry Leader for IBM’s Wholesale Distribution Industry, he is responsible for managing IBM’s business and strategic initiatives within the wholesale distribution industry globally.

NAW Institute LogoWhy NAW Institute Publications Are Different

NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence conducts research into strategic management issues affecting the wholesale distribution industry. Our research is conducted with best practice wholesaler-distributors, and we publish leading-edge research studies with practical application for wholesale distribution firms of all sizes and across all lines of trade.

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