Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

"We collaborated with Texas A&M on an inventory project that resulted in a successful classification of our inventory based on item-level profitability. We have already seen a significant reduction in capital employed and expect to benefit from further decreases."

—Kevin Reid, Vice President, Strategic Procurement, ThyssenKrupp Copper & Brass Sales Division

F. Barry Lawrence, Senthil Gunasekaran, Pradip Krishnadevarajan

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Aligning working capital to customer experience will maximize your bottom line.

Distributors are facing forces of change that range from non-traditional competitors like Amazon to technology to human capital to customer experience. Changing the way you go to market requires new ways of thinking, innovative business models and creative leadership.

While creating a new business model, your business must standardize your traditional business model of multiple stocking locations. The crux of distribution is optimizing working capital while maximizing profitability—known as the service versus cost trade-off. Managing working capital effectively decides the financial viability of your firm. It’s very important to understand the role of working capital not only for your existing business model, but also for the evolving new models of e-commerce and other digital platforms. Until now, distributors lacked a proven and tested strategy to perform the advanced, must-do analytics on this trade-off.

This study, based on 15 years of proven and tested research with distribution firms, reveals the fundamentals and contemporary practices to help your business design the role of inventory within your firm in this era of ever-evolving new business models. This book presents an inventory management framework, customer service metrics, a step-by-step implementation approach and a series of real-world distributor case studies. The framework not only distinguishes inventory at the SKU level, but also provides a blueprint for extending it to demand forecasting and replenishment. It concludes with a plan-of-action roadmap that provides the how-to for implementing the inventory management framework at your company.

Unlock the Power of Inventory Analytics includes:

  • 24 best practices on growth from actual wholesaler-distributors
  • 43 action steps that your firm can implement immediately
  • 33 real-world distributor examples from across many lines of trade!

Inventory management is a critical core business process that you and your team need to master so you can leverage the emerging advanced analytics opportunities in today’s digital transformation landscape. This study gives you the inventory analytics best practices, tools, knowledge and motivation to sustain this critical business process and continually improve your shareholder value.

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


What Distributors Are Saying

“Through knowledge learned from the inventory management program, we reduced our total inventory levels by more than 20%.”

—Brent Burns, CEO (retired), ISC Building Materials

About the Authors

F. Barry Lawrence

Barry is Director of the Industrial Distribution Program and Founder of the Global Supply Chain Laboratory at Texas A&M University. He is a Fellow of the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence, and an author of eight books on distributor competitiveness. Barry serves as an advisor to the distribution industry on profitability and supply chain management. He is a frequent speaker for distribution associations, buying groups, and companies on a wide range of supply chain topics.

Senthil Gunasekaran

Senthil leads research on the wholesale distribution industry at Texas A&M University. With 15 years of experience in distribution and manufacturing, he advises distribution firms, delivers executive education, and speaks at industry forums on topics influencing distributor competitiveness. He is an author of five books on distributor profitability, growth, and analytics, and holds a doctorate degree from Texas A&M.

Pradip Krishnadevarajan

Pradip is the Co-founder of the Global Supply Chain Lab at Texas A&M University. With more than 14 years of experience as an industry advisor, educator, and speaker for wholesale distribution, Pradip helps wholesaler-distributors create strategic and tactical competitive advantage. He is an author of six books on best practices, customer analytics, business transformation, and profitability.