February 25, 2007 - Modern Distribution Management

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February 25, 2007

MDM Interview, Part I: Wolseley CEO on Distributor’s Localized Strategy

Wolseley CEO Chip Hornsby sat down with MDM recently to talk about the distributor's market moves, its localized strategy, the current housing market and the importance of leadership training. Hornsby also addressed the $25-billion global distributor's potential expansion into new but complementary sectors, which should slow while the company digests the acquisitions it has made in the past 18 months.

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Wolseley is the parent company of Stock Building Supply and HVAC/plumbing distributor Ferguson in the U.S. The second part of this interview, focused on Wolseley's European ambitions, will be in the March 10 issue of MDM.

MDM: What are the key issues for Wolseley in North America to develop markets in terms of services, product mix, ...

MDM Interview, Part I: Wolseley CEO on Distributor’s Localized Strategy Read More »

Case Study: Outsourced Billing

In the mid-1990s, Mayer Electric Supply, Birmingham, AL, prepared and mailed its invoices and statements in-house. The distributor had employees who printed the mailings on high-speed printers at night and used a machine to fold and stuff the mailings. It also maintained a Pitney-Bowes postal machine.

It was quite a cost factor to do all of that, says Mayer Electric CIO Barry Carden.

So Mayer started looking at outsourcing its paper billing. The electrical distributor, which serves mostly the Southeast U.S., found a provider in 2001. Despite a few issues - like some double mailings - the service worked well and saved Mayer time and money. But that company was sold to a larger corporation, which decided to cut smaller customers out of the mix, including ...

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Case Study: Minimizing Surplus Inventory

Company Snapshot:

  • Number of branches: 45

  • Number of employees: 450

  • Key customer base: Food processing, manufacturing, industrial

Inventory management provides both a challenge and an opportunity for all distributors. Our stock is our lifeline. If we do not maintain adequate supplies of merchandise, we lose sales. On the other hand, inventory costs money. The ongoing struggle is to have just the proper amount on hand, but not too much.

In past years, we've fallen into the distributor habit of not thinking about surplus inventory until the end of the year. During an annual inventory taking, it was obvious that we had accumulated way too much stock on our shelves.

Recently, we've ...

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Wholesale Revenues Rise 9.8% in 2006

Wholesaler-distributor revenues were $3.903 trillion last year, up 9.8% from 2005, unadjusted for seasonal variations. Wholesale revenues for durable goods were up 8.8%, and nondurable goods sales were up 11%. The increase in sales was slower than in years' past, partly due to a slowdown in commodity inflation.

The MDM Inflation Index, which measures a cross-section of industrial supplies, rose 3.47 percent from December 2005 to December 2006. In comparison, the index rose 5.58% from December 2004 to December 2005. Here's the breakdown in sales by sector for 2006.


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Monthly Wholesale Trade: Sales and Inventories for December 2006

December 2006 sales of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers' sales branches and offices, were $337.1 billion, up 1.8 percent from the revised November level and were up 8.6 percent from the December 2005 level. December sales of durable goods increased 1.1 percent from last month and were up 7.0 percent from a year ago. Compared to last month, sales of hardware and plumbing and heating equipment and supplies were up 4.2 percent and sales of motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and supplies increased 2.9 percent. December sales of nondurable goods were up 2.5 percent from last month and were up 10.2 percent from last year.

Inventories . Total inventories of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers' sales ...

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Commentary: The Let’s-Make-A-Deal Decade in Distribution

Last week saw a feeding frenzy of rumors in distribution, with action on both sides of the Atlantic. The biggest hunters suddenly became the hunted.

The history of independent distribution channels has repeatedly provided pointed lessons that size, more often than not, is the real giant slayer. It is tough to institutionalize flexibility and strong service levels - the hallmark of local distribution - across states, much less international borders. The next few years may tell whether there is an opportunity to create a global platform that doesn't self destruct on its own growth plans.

Some might say too much money is overheating valuations and expectations. The surprise is that the M & A market in distribution (and overall) remains hot in 2007, with most expecting ...

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MDM News Digest 3704

HD Supply reported sales of $12.07 billion in fiscal 2006, an increase of 161.6 percent over 2005. Most of that growth was driven by the almost $4 billion in acquisitions made in the past year when HD Supply bought diversified distributor Hughes Supply for $3.4 billion. In the fourth quarter 2006, sales for HD Supply grew by 64.4 percent to $2.9 billion. In 2006, the retail division had sales of $79 billion, up 2.6 percent. Overall, sales at The Home Depot were $90.8 billion, 11.4 percent over last year, with profit steady at $5.8 billion. Comparable store sales for the year were down 2.8 percent. Home Depot had a slow fourth quarter, with profit falling 28 percent to $925 million from $1.3 billion last year. Sales in the fourth quarter were $20.3 billion overall, ...

MDM News Digest 3704 Read More »

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