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Looking Forward to the New Facing the Forces of Change® Report

Chairman's Column - March 2010

Bob Taylor, President and CEO, Do it Best Corp.
2010 NAW Chairman of the Board

I just got off the phone with Guy Blissett and Paul St. Germain of IBM. They interviewed me to learn more about my company, Do it Best Corp., as part of their research for the upcoming Facing the Forces of Change® report that the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence will publish in November.

I have to say that I am really excited that IBM and its Institute for Business Value (IBV) are now partnering with the NAW Institute on our next future trends study for wholesale distribution. Certainly not to take anything away from the previous editions, but this ninth edition will make what’s “the best” in terms of leading trends reports for our industry “even better.” I appreciate the new energy and perspective along with the background and experience that IBM’s research arm, IBV, brings to the table. The forthcoming report will bring exceptional value to NAW members.

Our company has depended on the research, trends, and recommendations in the Facing the Forces of Change® report since we first became members of NAW some 21 years ago. Each time the report is published, we share it with all our vice presidents as soon as the copies arrive in our office. With this year’s edition scheduled for publication in November, the timing is perfect for our company’s own strategic planning needs. Our fiscal year ends June 30, and so we start our annual strategic planning effort in November. Having the report and the insight it provides in hand to work from is a key resource in this initiative. Our various divisions also use the report in developing their action plans and budgets for the coming year. What’s especially advantageous for our company is that the study forecasts five years out. Since our company does a rolling three-year strategic plan, we are able to match our perspective and assumptions against those in the report and track along the same timeline. As you can tell, I am a strong believer in the immense value of the Facing the Forces of Change® industry trends report. Do it Best Corp. isn’t a company that “puts the report on the shelf”…we use it!

The Facing the Forces of Change® report is a valuable tool for wholesaler-distributors who are already conducting their own internal SWOT analysis. While most are already doing a good job of analyzing their business environment, this report can give them confirmation that they’re either on the right track, or that there may be more work to be done. While we may have a good handle on identifying some of the obstacles out there preventing our businesses from achieving “top-quartile” status, the Facing the Forces of Change® study helps us do a better job of navigating through and around those obstacles. And, more importantly, the report helps us better identify profitable opportunities that lie ahead. That’s a pretty good deal, and I hope you agree!