Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

"This is the best book I’ve ever read on human capital strategy, and it’s customized to the distribution industry! Love the process map and explanation as well as the specificity of the action plans. All people managers, the HR staff and senior executives need to read this book."

—George Pattee, Chairman, Parksite Inc.

Jia Wang, F. Barry Lawrence, Bharani Nagarathnam

Buy the Book and Map
$200.00 NAW Direct Member
$315.00 Nonmember
Buy Additional Map
$55.00 NAW Direct Member
$86.00 Nonmember
Buy the E-Book and E-Map
$180.00 NAW Direct Member
$295.00 Nonmember

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An NAW publication in salable condition may be returned within 15 days of receipt for a full refund. E-books and digital downloads are not returnable or refundable.

Attention front-line supervisors to C-suite executives: If you manage people, this distribution-specific research study will benefit you.

We live in a world where “change” has become a constant. Change occurs so fast that wholesaler-distributors are struggling to keep up with its pace. Intensified competition, constant technological innovations, changing customer expectations and a diversified workforce are just a few external forces that have disrupted distributors’ traditional business practices. What was effective yesterday or today will no longer be working tomorrow. What will determine success, however, is your ability to attract, develop and retain the right people with the right capabilities to create impactful customer experiences. Distributors that have a deep appreciation for their employees and optimal talent development processes in place will distinguish themselves and rise to the top in these turbulent times.

Optimizing Human Capital Development maps out a pathway to achieve business excellence by maximizing your human capital potential. This comprehensive, evidence-based guidebook draws a large body of knowledge from extensive academic research and rich, practical experiences accumulated through collaborative distribution industry-based projects. It provides a success formula for human capital development by identifying all the key ingredients, ranging from talent strategy alignment, talent planning and talent acquisition, to talent management, talent development, talent retention and return-on-talent investment. This research study provides not only a large number of best practices in each talent area, but also a plethora of practical tools for assessing, improving and evaluating a company’s current talent initiatives.


Included with this study is a separate, over-sized Human Capital Development Framework wall map to help you follow how human capital business processes are linked to enhance shareholder value.

Optimizing Human Capital Development includes:

  • 25 sets of best talent practices to use in your human capital development strategy
  • 16 action steps that your firm can implement immediately
  • 62 real-world distributor examples from across many lines of trade!

Organization Capabilities x Individual Competencies x Talent Culture = ROI on Human Capital

As the first research study in the wholesale distribution industry that aims to build organization competitive advantage through people management, this study stands out from the rest of talent management books because it is

  • Customized for wholesaler-distributors. It captures the dynamic interactions of the unique forces that impact the wholesale distribution industry. As a result, the innovative solutions provided in this study are applicable to our industry.
  • Grounded in robust applied research and a data-driven approach through collaborations between Texas A&M University’s Global Supply Chain Lab, the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence, and 18 wholesale distribution companies. This makes this study even more relevant and actionable.
  • For everyone who manages people at your company. While it centers around people management issues, this book was not written exclusively for HR professionals. Regardless of your job title or functional area, as long as you are responsible for managing more than just yourself, this research study will benefit you. This first-of-its-kind study is just as valuable for front-line supervisors and mid-level managers as it is for HR practitioners and C-suite executives.

With this comprehensive research study, you and your leaders will have the guidance you need to align your talent strategy with your business strategy so that you can build your sustainable competitive advantage in the marketplace.

This book is a collaboration of the NAW Institute and Texas A&M, two leaders in wholesale distribution education and training.


About the Authors

Jia Wang

Jia is Professor of Human Resource Development at Texas A&M University. As a scholar, she has been actively promoting individual and organizational development through culture-sensitive and evidence-based research. Her research work has been disseminated through a wide range of academic journals and international conferences. Jia currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Human Resource Development Review. With 25 years of accumulated experiences in multi-cultural contexts, she has developed and conducted numerous educational workshops to diverse groups in both the corporate and university settings.

Bharani Nagarathnam

Bharani is an Instructional Assistant Professor and Associate Director of Master of Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University. He has more than 20 years of experience in teaching, applied research, academic program management and business development. He has worked with more than 100 distributors on consortia, projects and professional education.