Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

3 Steps to Managing Market Shifts with Inventory Analytics – Driving Performance with Analytics #4

The ongoing uncertainty and complexity due to COVID-19 has many longing for the days before it was part of our vocabulary—and our lives. However, the world isn’t likely to revert any time soon. That means distributors need to look forward, assess their new surroundings and reorient. One area that needs strategic adjustment is “demand planning,” which has been greatly disrupted [...]

How to Build a Foundation for Sustainable Competitive Advantage – Value Creation Strategy #13

There is a lot of noise around digital transition, consolidation, manufacturers going direct, Millennials and Gen Z, and a host of other challenges facing distributors. All are important, but without three foundational elements, distributors won’t be able to tackle any of these challenges with any great sustainable impact. Effective Board Governance Over more than 30 years of [...]

Are You Innovating with One Arm Tied Behind Your Back? – Distributors in the Digital Era #86

As some distributor leaders drive their businesses to offer unique customer experiences, enabled by new operating models, they are finding that their company’s traditional knowledge and skills are coming up short. Leading-edge distributors already know this, and so they are competing on continual innovations and embracing the practice of building an innovation ecosystem, which consists of [...]

Increasing Sales with Personalization or Segmentation – Leveraging the Power of AI #17

Distribution is becoming a remote game. COVID-19 has forced many distributors to abandon face-to-face selling and instead sell exclusively through remote channels. However, before the pandemic, many distributors leaned on e-commerce and telesales reps to drive profits. As more distributors go remote, merely having remote channels is not enough to beat the competition. Distributors need active [...]

How to Reinvigorate Your Pricing Strategy in 6 Steps – Driving Performance with Analytics #3

Reinvigorating revenue streams is a priority for distributors right now, but it’s important to pay attention to the sacrifices that come with certain tactics. These include over-discounting to bring in sales and going above and beyond in service — at a loss — to retain customers. These aren’t pricing strategies; they’re panic responses. A good pricing strategy has intention and [...]

Leading the Sales Team into a New Normal – Value Creation Strategy #12

The pandemic is affecting the ways in which many distributors operate — especially how sales teams sell. Distributors have an opportunity right now to rethink their sales structures to innovate, despite this being a trying time. To do that, we must be curious about what the new normal looks like, return to a few fundamentals, keep a positive attitude to solve problems, stay relevant and [...]

Are Distributors Learning from Retail’s E-Commerce Transformation? – Distributors in the Digital Era #85

In many ways, the impact of digital transformation and disruption on the retail industry is ahead of similar changes happening in distribution. Distributors can learn from retail and then upgrade their strategies and operational plans to be better prepared for changes that are certain to come. Distributors that fail to learn from retail’s transformation risk being blindsided by predictable [...]

We’re Reminded of NAW’s Value to Our Industry During a Pandemic

Welcome to my first Chairman’s Column. I want to take this opportunity to focus your attention on what NAW has been working on these past three months of the pandemic. Since March 13, the association’s team, much like many organizations around the world, has been working from home. During these unprecedented times, the NAW staff continues to work tirelessly on behalf of our members, [...]

Know Your Customers From Afar – Leveraging the Power of AI #16

The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated the relationship between distributors and customers. Distributors’ sales processes have changed as travel and onsite visits have become all but impossible. Customer behavior has shifted within this new environment too. The combination of these factors means that distributors now face a unique and challenging puzzle: They must figure out how to make [...]

Announcing the NAW Podcast Series: INNOVATE TO DOMINATE – Distributors in the Digital Era #84

One of the most important findings in the book I wrote for NAW, Innovate to Dominate: The 12th Edition in the Facing the Forces of Change® Series, is that “distributors won't go far by going it alone.” In the digital age, the battle for customers is not just about putting up a webstore or leveraging artificial intelligence for optimal pricing or effective selling. The real struggle is [...]