The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Day: September 25, 2008

State of the Distribution Software Industry, Part I: The Impact of Consolidation

To better understand the dynamics in the distribution software market, MDM spoke with distributors and more than a dozen software providers. This is the first in a series of articles based on those interviews. This article focuses on the relatively recent consolidation in distribution software and its impact on the distribution industry. Part II of this series will run Oct. 10, 2008.
 
Take a snapshot in 1995 of software for distributors. The picture is fragmented. For the most part, there were small providers, most focused on one or two product sectors. The landscape today looks very different from even five years ago -not to mention the vast shift we've seen over the past decade.
 
Consolidation of software providers in the early part of this decade resulted ...

MDM Interview: Updating Legacy Systems

Luke Bucklin, president of Sierra Bravo Corp., has worked with distributors for more than two decades, most recently in updating legacy systems using Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). SOA allows companies to adapt their current systems to modern technology. Here's what Bucklin is seeing in the current market for SOA and what distributors should expect.
 
MDM: How do companies go about modernizing their legacy systems, and how do you help them to do that?
 
Luke Bucklin: Legacy systems have changed with the customer over time. They eventually realize that the system is not modern. It doesn't integrate cleanly with e-mail or their CRM application. They can't print invoices the way they want them to look. It's a constant challenge. ...

Health Care Premiums Rise 5% in 2008

Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose to $12,680 annually for family coverage this year -with employees on average paying $3,354 out of their paychecks to cover their share -and the scope of that coverage has changed, with many more workers now enrolled in high-deductible plans, according to the 2008 Employer Health Benefits Survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research &Educational Trust.
 
Premiums rose a modest 5 percent this year, but they have more than doubled since 1999 when total family premiums stood at $5,791. During the same period, workers'wages increased 34 percent and inflation rose 29 percent.
 
This year many workers are also facing higher deductibles in their plans, including a growing number with general plan ...

Commentary: Software Evolution Has Been Good for Distributors

Some of us attended Gordon Graham seminars in the 1990s. He is widely regarded as the father of distribution inventory management principles and the driver for getting those principles built into most of the first- and second-generation distribution software packages. He helped define state-of-the-art in information technology for distributors for more than a generation. What a new world today by contrast.
 
Consider that in the mid-1990s, only a few providers had revenues more than $10 million. The three biggest were Prophet 21, NxTrend and Eclipse. Prophet 21, estimated to be the largest, reported 1996 revenues of $36 million. By 2005 when it was sold to Activant, its revenues were pushing $90 million. Today it is part of a company several times larger (and includes ...

Monthly Wholesale Trade: July 2008

July 2008 sales of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers'sales branches and offices,
after adjustment for seasonal variations and trading-day differences but not for price changes, were $410.6 billion, down 0.3 percent from the revised June level, but up 16.5 percent from the July 2007 level. The June preliminary estimate was revised upward $0.7 billion or 0.2
percent. July sales of durable goods were up 0.2 percent from last month and were up 9.4 percent from a year ago. Sales of nondurable goods were down 0.7 percent from last month, but were up 23.0 percent from last year. Sales of petroleum and petroleum products were down 5.9 percent from last month.
 
Inventories. Total inventories of merchant wholesalers were $441.3 billion at the end of July, up ...

MDM News Digest 3818

Global electrical distributor Sonepar Group, Paris, France, has appointed Paul Klasing as president of Sonepar USA, effective Jan. 1, 2009. Klasing succeeds Tony Burr who has been appointed to a new global role focusing on strategic initiatives for the Sonepar Group. More
 
United Stationers Inc., Deerfield, IL, master distributor of business, jan-san and industrial products, has tapped Stephen A. Schultz to the position of group president, LagasseSweet and ORS Nasco. Todd A. Shelton has been promoted to president of LagasseSweet after serving since 2005 as its COO. William K. Scheller, senior vice president and president of ORS Nasco Inc., the company's industrial supplies division acquired in ...

Wolseley Considers Selling Stock Building Supply

UK-based Wolseley plc has started a fundamental review"of Stock Building Supply's impact on its overall results, which continued to suffer due to the struggling housing market in the U.S. The company may sell the unit.

"We must acknowledge that further large-scale reduction of Stock will inevitably eat into the infrastructure of the business,"said Chief Executive Chip Hornsby. "It is also abundantly clear that conditions in the new residential market will continue to get worse before it gets better so riding out the storm is not an option for us."

Stock posted a trading loss of £123 million (US$227 million) for fiscal year 2008. The magnitude of the of loss masks the strong performances of other members of the group, Hornsby said.