Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

About the NAW Institute

The NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence conducts research into strategic management issues affecting the wholesale distribution industry. Our research is conducted with best practice wholesaler-distributors, and we publish leading-edge research studies with practical application for wholesale distribution firms of all sizes and across all lines of trade.

NAW Institute's Mission

“To sponsor and disseminate research into strategic management issues affecting the wholesale distribution industry. The NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence aims to help merchant wholesaler-distributors remain the most effective and efficient channel in distribution.”

Groundbreaking Research

The NAW Institute’s best projects are those that wholesale distribution industry executives bring to us, because those are the projects that will solve real-world business problems. Learn more about submitting a proposal to the NAW Institute.

If you have questions about the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence Publishing Program, please contact Ruth Stadius at rstadius@naw.org.

Check out our Publications and order your research studies today.

Watch Mark Kramer, President/CEO of Laird Plastics, discuss the value of NAW Institute Research Studies.

The research priorities of the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence center on the strategic management issues that leading wholesale distribution companies view as most important for improving their business performance and profitability. The research priorities are updated on a rolling basis, beginning with surveys and discussions, and culminating with issuance of a formal list of the NAW Institute’s research topics for publication.

Criteria for selection of research topics include:

  • Importance and relevance of the research topic to the NAW Institute’s Mission
  • Potential contribution to advancing the state of knowledge in wholesale distribution
  • Probability of the research to have a practical impact on improving wholesaler-distributors’ business processes and profitability
  • Assurance that the topic is researchable
  • Originality of the proposed research
  • Quality of proposal development
  • Qualifications of the researcher(s) to conduct the project.

Current research topics for publications include:

  • Business Relationships
  • Financial Management
  • Innovation
  • Marketing
  • Operational Efficiency
  • Profitability and Pricing
  • Sales Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Talent Management
  • Technology
  • Trends in Wholesale Distribution
  • Value Creation
  • Warehouse and Inventory Management

The NAW Institute supports work that includes a primary research component in order to advance the state of knowledge in wholesale distribution. No one research approach or methodology is favored over another as long as the form is appropriate to the objectives of the research. We encourage development of work that—in addition to the primary research component—includes a practical, prescriptive aspect that is written in business language. Our objective is to apply the primary research in such a way that it is usable by industry executives immediately.

The NAW Institute encourages consultants and academicians with expertise in wholesale distribution to submit a proposal to the NAW Institute for consideration as a research project. Proposals may be submitted to Patricia A. Lilly, Executive Director, NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence, 1325 G Street NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20005-3134. Email: plilly@naw.org.

About the CRDBP

In January 2009, the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence and Texas A&M University’s Industrial Distribution Program launched an alliance dedicated to furthering the understanding and application of best practices in wholesale distribution. In doing so, the NAW Institute and Texas A&M combine the research and brand power of two well-known organizations serving wholesaler-distributors. Together, the NAW Institute and Texas A&M have formed a new entity—the Council for Research on Distributor Best Practices or CRDBP.

The field of wholesale distribution continues to experience dramatic change. Distributors have faced challenges in the form of expanding service offerings, pricing pressure, cost controls, and spiraling logistics costs for many years. For more than 50 years, the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence has provided cutting-edge research and publications for sharing best practices. As the field of distribution continues to become more competitive, the need for higher levels of research to identify and document new best practices becomes ever greater.

The CRDBP is dedicated to furthering the understanding and application of best practices in wholesale distribution. The mission of the CRDBP will be to assist wholesaler-distributors and their suppliers through creating strategies for competitive advantage.

NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence Fellows

The Fellows Program was established in 1999. It is intended to recognize outstanding individuals from the academic and consulting communities doing excellent work to expand the body of knowledge about the wholesale distribution industry. When it comes to research and authoring practical reports that can assist distribution companies to be more profitable, these Fellows are our crown jewels.

J. Michael Marks

J. Michael Marks, Managing Partner of Indian River Consulting Group in Melbourne, Florida, became a Fellow in 2002.

Indian River Consulting Group (IRCG) is an experience-driven firm that continues to focus on the wholesale distribution channel.

Prior to forming IRCG, Mike held the position of Executive Vice President at Lex Electronics, a vertically integrated electronics distributor in Stamford, Connecticut. Prior to that, he was Director of Corporate Training and Development at Ducommon Inc., an industrial distribution company in Los Angeles, California.

Mike is coauthor of

Brent R. Grover

Brent R. Grover, President of Evergreen Consulting, LLC in Cleveland, Ohio, was named a Fellow in 2005.

Evergreen Consulting advises owner managers of closely held distribution and manufacturing companies on the challenges of strategy and ownership succession.

Brent, former CEO of National Paper & Packaging Co., served as Chairman of the NAW Member Association: National Paper Trade Association in 1993.

Brent is author of

Barry Lawrence, Ph.D.

Dr. Barry Lawrence, Director of the Industrial Distribution Program and the Global Supply Chain Lab (GSCL) at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, was named a Fellow in 2009.

The GSCL is the nation’s premier distribution-focused research lab, providing state-of-the-art distribution and supply chain research solutions to the wholesale distribution industry. The lab partners with the distribution industry to help companies solve complex problems. These partnerships have resulted in millions of dollars in cost savings, inventory reductions, and margin improvements.

Barry also heads up Texas A&M’s efforts with the Council for Research on Distributor Best Practices (CRDBP), an alliance between the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence and Texas A&M University’s Industrial Distribution Program that launched in 2009 to further the understanding and application of best practices in wholesale distribution. The mission of the CRDBP is to create competitive advantage for wholesaler-distributors through development of research, tools, and education.

Barry is coauthor of

Mark Dancer

Mark Dancer, Founder and President of Channelvation, Inc. in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was named a Fellow in 2017.

Channelvation works with business leaders and teams to create visions, solve problems and strengthen capabilities. Mark’s experience includes work across global markets and commercial, industrial, services, technology, automotive, construction and other sectors.

Previously, Mark was Vice President of Global Channel Management–Industrial Adhesives at Henkel.

Mark is author of

ajax-loader