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Council for Research on Distributor Best Practices

Optimizing Channel Compensation

The NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence and Texas A&M University’s Industrial Distribution Program maintain an alliance dedicated to further the understanding and application of best practices in wholesale distribution. This alliance operates through the Council for Research on Distributor Best Practices (CRDBP), whose mission is to create competitive advantage for wholesaler-distributors through development of research, tools, and education. Read more >

The CRDBP is organizing and operating annual educational consortia on important business topics for interested wholesale distribution companies of all sizes and across all lines of trade. 

Optimizing Channel Compensation

The 2012 consortium will be pioneering research-driven educational programs on the topic of Optimizing Channel Compensation. This research initiative will conduct research on the topic and develop practical methodologies and tools that can be used by the consortium members to develop sound value propositions for customers and suppliers that lead to fair and meaningful compensation for distributor services. A two-day educational session will be developed based on the resulting knowledge, methodology, and tools. Learn more by viewing the 11-page Program Brochure below.

This consortium will provide value by allowing each participating company to

  • Determine how service models are changing and how distributors are being compensated for new processes.
  • Capture best practices in manufacturer–distributor collaborations in taking new products to market and speeding new product introductions.
  • Examine and document distributor compensation models in terms of traditional product margin (distributor-driven), fee for service (customer-driven), incentive based (manufacturer-driven), and hybrid models.
  • Determine the role, value, and cost of new sales and marketing models.
  • Document best practices in distributor compensation models.
  • Send up to 10 people from their organizations to one of the two educational programs delivered at Texas A&M in 2013 for no cost other than their travel expenses. The educational sessions alone represent a $20,000 value. 

What is the Optimizing Channel Compensation research consortium?

The Optimizing Channel Compensation research consortium is a collaboration of multiple distributors and manufacturers to conduct research with the objective of developing solutions to a common industry challenge by pooling their resources for achieving a common goal.

Why join this research consortium?

Many times companies cannot afford to invest in some research and development due to high cost and/or lack of knowledge resources required to conduct the research. Research consortia are an economical path to low-cost, high-quality research and development that is essential to the growth of a company. Research consortiums also allow for the sharing of best practices and strategies among the cutting-edge organizations that invest in such efforts.

"Womack Machine Supply literally owes much of its success to Texas A&M’s Industrial Distribution program. We have successfully used these consortia and research projects to improve profitability, operations, and supply chain management practices."
—Mike Rowlett, CEO, Womack Machine Supply

Who should join this research consortium?

  • Wholesaler-distributors
  • Manufacturers who go to market through wholesaler-distributors
  • Technology providers who serve wholesaler-distributors and manufacturers 

What are the benefits?

The consortium members will have the exclusive opportunity to

  • Actively participate in groundbreaking research in one of the most crucial challenges facing the industry
  • Direct the scope of the research so that the results are actionable and sustainable
  • Have an 18-month head start on competitors in understanding and implementing the new best practices developed in this consortium
  • Send up to 10 people from their organization at no cost (other than their travel expenses) to one of the two educational programs that will follow the research study.


In addition to the body of knowledge resulting from this research, tangible outcomes will include:

  • A full report issued to each consortium member with all analysis performed on the firm itself with the firm’s data. Direct recommendations will be made for each individual participant firm.
  • An implementation strategy, tools, and methodologies for each member firm to optimize its compensation in the channel, specific to the company, based on workshops conducted with its team. 
  • Two educational seminars aimed at providing firms with knowledge into how they can apply the concepts, tools, and techniques identified in the research. 

Consortium structure and fees

The consortium membership fee is $25,000 per company. This fee will cover attendance in consortium meetings, company-specific workshops, and 10 free seats in one of the two educational programs. All meetings/conferences will be hosted by Texas A&M University at College Station, TX.

For more information about this research consortium, contact:

  • Patricia A. Lilly
    Executive Director
    NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence
    1325 G Street, NW, Suite 1000
    Washington, DC 20005
    Office: (202) 872-0885
    Fax: (202) 785-0586
    E-mail: plilly@naw.org
    Website: http://www.naw.org/crdbp


June – December, 2011

  • Membership Enrollment and Consortium Formation

February 23–24, 2012

  • February 23 (Dinner Event) and February 24 (Kick-off Meeting)

March – October, 2012

  • Conduct Research Workshops

November, 2012 – March, 2013

  • Research and Develop Tools

April, 2013

  • Final Consortium Meeting

May – July, 2013

  • Develop Educational Program

October, 2013

  • Deliver Educational Program

Program Brochure