Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

Are You Innovating on Genius Knowledge? – Distributors in the Digital Era #60

To survive and thrive in the digital age, every distributor must act on its genius knowledge — that is, knowledge that already exists as well as new knowledge collected from customers. Disruptors, like Amazon, do not have a monopoly on ideas, nor do they have unbeatable competitive advantages. Winning is about having good ideas that [...]

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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 [...]

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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 Inc.com, 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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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Invent Zero-step Distribution to Save the Value Chain – Distributors in the Digital Era #54

Many distributors are striving to transform their business to fend off the threat of disruption by virtual marketplaces and other new players. In doing so, distributor leaders are looking to the future as they leverage digital tools to offer new customer experiences and dramatically improve their operating efficiencies, sales productivity and marketing effectiveness. These efforts [...]

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Can Gig Technician Services Pay Distributors for Value? – Distributors in the Digital Era #53

When it comes to getting compensated for value, there is a massive elephant in the room — distributors are in the wrong business. Or, more accurately, they have the wrong business model. Distributors are service companies built around a business model designed to sell products. Customers buy products and reap value created by distributor services [...]

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What Is the Purpose of Distribution in the Digital Age? – Distributors in the Digital Era #52

Recently I attended The World Innovation Network’s TWIN GLOBAL 2018 conference, led by Professor Robert C. Wolcott, Professor of Innovation at Kellogg School of Management. Readers of my research for the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence may recognize Professor Wolcott’s name. He introduced me to the Innovation Radar framework, a tool which helped advance our [...]

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Can Distributors Win as “The Experience Store”? – Distributors in the Digital Era #51

As distributors look for ways to fend off disruption, many are considering how to repurpose legacy brick-and-mortar facilities. The general idea is that two or more people interacting in a physical space can create compelling and differentiated value. Some concepts include a food service equipment distributor building out a fully functional restaurant and dining facility, [...]

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