Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

Empower Your First-Line Managers to Survive a Crisis – Distributors in the Digital Era #79

The defining characteristic of a crisis is uncertainty. First-line managers are a powerful force for surviving a crisis, but only if leaders help them embrace a new role. Every employee wonders how long the crisis will last, which work is most important and if their job is secure. Leaders don’t have all the answers, and employees know it. The role of first-line managers shifts from [...]

Risk Prediction and Mitigation Are the New Normal – Distributors in the Digital Era #78

The hard truth about the Coronavirus is that extreme, unexpected events are becoming an essential new requirement of effective supply chain planning. In the current crisis, distributors are doing the crucial work of delivering critical products to essential businesses. As the virus peaks, distributors will play a leading role in rebooting our economy. As industries recover, a new normal will [...]

Staying Competitive in the Face of Disruption – Value Creation Strategy #10

Many distributors have been doing things the same way for years. In some cases, what worked then still works now. Yet, part of preparing for the future is preparing for the unexpected — whether that is economic volatility or other industry disruption, such as the Coronavirus. There are three kinds of information. Facts, informed opinions and guesses. The worst case is when everyone [...]

Which Multi-Trillion Dollar Opportunity Should You Pursue? – Leveraging the Power of AI #13

Digital marketplaces were a major theme at the recent NAW Executive Summit, and for good reason; B2B marketplaces are predicted to be a $3.6 trillion boon for distributors in the next few years. This new opportunity is certainly good for distributors, but it does make action even harder. How can AI, e-commerce and marketplaces all be multi-trillion dollar opportunities? Further, which one [...]

Sabotage Outsider Disruption by Turbocharging Communities – Distributors in the Digital Era #77

Distributors may avoid outsider disruption by being human, but only if they make concrete plans to work with customers where they live and work — in communities. A new mindset is required. Segmenting customers is about selling. Serving communities is about collaborating. Relationships are built on trust, and at its core, building trust is a very human endeavor. As distributors transform [...]

Why Setting SMART Goals with Your Employees Is the Way to Go – Developing Your Workforce #20

In NAW's Optimizing Human Capital Development: A Distributor’s Guide to Building a Sustainable Competitive Advantage Through Talent Strategy, my coauthors and I talked about how goal setting is directly linked to profit, performance and productivity. When goals are well set, they can provide guidance and direction facilitate planning motivate and inspire employees assist with [...]

How Will You Win by Being Human? – Distributors in the Digital Era #76

“Technology is capable of doing great things. But it doesn’t want to do great things. It doesn’t want anything. That part takes all of us.” — Tim Cook, CEO, Apple I found Tim Cook’s insight on the promise and limitations of technology in an article by Gerd Leonhard with a critical message for distributors: “2020 Will Bring A New Renaissance: Humanity Over Technology,” MIT [...]

How to Succeed in a Customer-Driven Digital Value Chain – Distributors in the Digital Era #75

Are you ready to participate in a digital value chain driven by customer demands for the virtual ordering of products and services, which provides for instant transparency and ever-increasing benefits while at the same time lowering costs? In a recent Forbes article, George Bailey, Managing Director of the Digital Supply Chain Institute, predicts that new customer demands will force [...]

Inside Sales Teams Sell More with AI – Leveraging the Power of AI #12

At a recent conference, I noticed that many distributors viewed AI as a purely digital phenomenon and were split on how the technology affected salespeople; either AI did not apply to sales teams, or it was going to replace them entirely. AI does have a big impact on inside sales, but not in either of those ways. It does not replace sales reps, but instead supercharges them. I’ve watched [...]

What Is the Value of Being Local? – Distributors in the Digital Era #74

As distributors rush to put up e-commerce platforms that can sell anywhere and anytime without human interaction, they are reinventing their business as one that is digital, virtual and data-driven. But, like a retail mall decimated by online shopping, distributors have failed to reposition their most crucial core offering. Distributors are inherently local businesses staffed by humans. [...]