Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

Holiday Classic: An Open Letter to the Sons and Daughters of Distribution – Distributors in the Digital Era #91

Last year, I suggested a holiday conversation about the future of distribution as distributor families gather for Thanksgiving. Our idea was that distributors' sons and daughters, whether they work in distribution or elsewhere, can share vital insights. With the ongoing pandemic, this year's conversations are even more critical. If you would like to share your [...]

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Viva la revolución: A Movement for Distributor Dominance – Distributors in the Digital Era #90

By adopting a new mindset, distributors have the opportunity to break free of the chains that bind them to meager margins and feeble brands. That mindset is about believing that they can do more than survive. Distributors can dominate! To do so, they must master the forces of change that enable disruption and offer game-changing [...]

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Do You Have a Plan to Dominate or Are You Just Catching Up? – Distributors in the Digital Era #89

More than ever before, distributors have the opportunity to break free of the chains that bind them to meager margins and feeble brands. But, there is a problem. The prevailing distribution mindset is that the forces of disruption and digital transformation highlight the weaknesses in the distributor's business model. Distribution is threatened, but distributors can [...]

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Is Storytelling the Missing Link for Leveraging Distributor Data? – Distributors in the Digital Era #88

Virtually every distributor I encounter understands that mastering data, analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) is essential if distributors are to survive and thrive in the digital age. However, very few leaders have a comprehensive game plan for turning their company into a data-driven business. The two most common approaches to mastering data, analytics and AI [...]

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Are Your Managers Managing Your Culture? – Distributors in the Digital Era #87

I’ve learned from many distributor leaders that a company’s culture is determined not only by its values, but by the particular employee behaviors that are most aligned with achieving its ideals. A positive, well-managed culture will drive productivity, reinforce customer experiences and enable innovations. A negative culture, however, can kill strategic initiatives and demolish returns [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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Distributors Are Innovating, But Are Manufacturers Paying Attention? – Distributors in the Digital Era #83

Distributors are a strategic go-to-market asset for manufacturers and many are stepping up to reinvent the traditional distribution business model for the digital age. My recent conversations with manufacturers indicate that many suppliers have not noticed, and very few have actively engaged with, even their most influential distributor partners. The partnership between distributors and manufacturers [...]

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Offering Virtual over Human Services Is a False Choice – Distributors in the Digital Era #82

As distributors imagine business after the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a growing consensus that the crisis will lock in a trend toward customer preferences for virtual experiences. While a sustained shift in buying habits is very likely, that outcome does not reflect the full impact on the future of business. Yes, social distancing has forced [...]

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