Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

The Best Strategy for Staying Competitive: Be Proactive – Value Creation Strategy #4

Rumors of wholesale distribution’s death have been greatly exaggerated for quite a while. A decade ago, it was the Internet that was going to kill distribution. Now, it’s Amazon. If you’ve been in the business for a while, you know there will always be something hanging over the industry like a big dark cloud. But the truth is, the wholesale distribution industry is thriving, and [...]

Are Suppliers Your Most Important Customers? – Distributors in the Digital Era #59

In our recent Facing the Forces of Change® challenge paper, Creating Innovations and Shaping the Future of Business, we identified a growing movement in wholesale distribution, in which leading distributors are innovating business services as a means of fighting disruption. Since the publication of our challenge paper, our continuing research has revealed evidence of distributors striving to [...]

Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Disruption Survivor? – Distributors in the Digital Era #58

Retail isn’t distribution, but lessons from Best Buy as a “disruption survivor” offer essential insights for distributor leaders. As reported recently on, Best Buy was nearly killed by losing business to Amazon, but turned things around through a combination of corporate strategy and emotional intelligence. Best Buy was terminally ill, but has become healthy through smart, [...]

Are You Using Talent Analytics to Drive Your HR and Business Results? – Developing Your Workforce #10

In this era of constant digital disruptions, wholesale distribution companies are trying to stay current and relevant by incorporating various technologies into their daily business operations and HR practices. The good news: Distributors now have more data than ever available at their fingertips. The challenge: As big data increases, so does the demand for sophisticated analysis. The [...]

PUH-LEASE …. Can We Stop Talking About Amazon? – Distributors in the Digital Era #57

Amazon seems to dominate every conversation about the future of distribution in the digital age. This is a huge problem, because there needs to be an industry-wide conversation about innovation and change by distributors for the betterment of their customers. If distributors let Amazon dominate conversations, the distribution industry will have little chance to survive on its own [...]

Use Technology to Optimize Your Talent Practices – Developing Your Workforce #9

One of the greatest disruptors in today’s world is technology. Rapid and continuous technological innovations have fundamentally changed the way we work, forcing organizations to evaluate the way they think about and manage their businesses. As technology continues to automate jobs, and technologically savvy younger generations of employees enter the workplace, the entire process of people [...]

5 Ways to Be More Valuable to Customers Without Cutting Prices – Value Creation Strategy #3

Ask your customers how you can provide more value, and most of them will automatically think of price cuts and discounts. But distributors are increasingly realizing there are other ways, from service to cost savings, that provide value but don’t chip away at margins. What’s more, I would argue that these alternatives provide greater value to both distributor and customer. And [...]

Why Distributors Must Become Strategic Marketers – Distributors in the Digital Era #56

Looking ahead to the coming connected world, consider a scenario in which all transactions are digital. Orders are received from a variety of virtual channels including a distributor’s online store and mobile apps, as well as customer e-procurement platforms and online marketplaces. Data transparency is nearly ubiquitous. Suppliers, distributors and customers succeed on what they do with [...]

Is Your Webstore an Imitation or an Innovation? – Distributors in the Digital Era #55

In my last post, Invent Zero-step Distribution to Save the Value Chain, I argued that distributors must invent "zero-step" distribution to save their value chains. My logic is that out-of-the-box innovations are essential if incumbent value chains are to remain a viable and valued source for customers. This is true, because the business model of many disruptive marketplaces is all about [...]

Let Your Employees Surprise You! – Developing Your Workforce #8

Have you ever been described as a "micro-manager" or "control freak"? Are you the type of leader who needs to have a final say in every decision, big or small? Do you feel the need to protect "your turf"? If you can relate to any of these questions, then it’s time for you to rethink your leadership style. At the time Gary Garfield became the CEO of one of the world’s largest [...]