Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

What Will Suppliers Want in the Digital Age? – Distributors in the Digital Era #65

In my research for Innovate to Dominate, the 12th edition in NAW's Facing the Forces of Change® series that will be published in November, I had many conversations with distributors about what suppliers will want from distributors in the digital age. I also asked suppliers. For the most part, I found that suppliers want what [...]

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Doing Business as Humans for Humans – Distributors in the Digital Era #64

As business goes virtual in the digital age, distributors can carve out a dominant, differentiated position by redefining what it means "to do business as humans for humans." It's not that distributors should refuse to do business online. Distributors must embrace offering virtual service for customers. But, the most potent roles for distributors going forward [...]

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Is It Time to Rename and Rebrand Distribution? – Distributors in the Digital Era #63

In our research for NAW’s next Facing the Forces of Change® report, which will be published in November (sign up here to be notified when you can preorder it), we reveal that distributors are responding to the threat of disruption by offering more and more services to customers and suppliers. As they do so, distributors [...]

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3 Steps to Help You Brainstorm for Breakthrough Innovations – Distributors in the Digital Era #62

Innovating the distributor business model requires identifying and considering options that are a break with the past, and a move toward offering new and different customer experiences, reinvented supplier partnerships or breakthrough operational productivity. Brainstorming is a useful tool for generating new ideas, but one that is poorly understood and often misused. Rather than aiding [...]

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Why Manufacturing-as-a-Service Is an Opportunity for Distributors – Distributors in the Digital Era #61

A primary goal for the next Facing the Forces of Change® report, which will be published in November (sign up here to be notified when you can preorder it), is to help distributors get out in front of market trends with innovations that help customers transform their business for the digital age. Just as every [...]

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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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