May 25, 2009 - Modern Distribution Management

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May 25, 2009

MDM Interview: Now Is the Time for Sales Discipline

With sales low across the industry, many companies are fighting just to break-even. However, there may be more opportunities for improving your sales than you expect. Jim Ambrose, president of and founder of Jim Ambrose's Workshop, says now is a great time to retrain and reenergize your sales force to find new ways to gain market share. 
MDM: Today's economy has created many challenges for businesses. What impact has it had on the sales process?
Jim Ambrose: Most, if not all, of my clients tell me that one of their big issues is that their salespeople tend to get comfortable in their account packages. And the problem with getting comfortable today is that your accounts aren't very busy. If the ...

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Commentary: Rethink Who Uses the Internet and How

If you still think the Web is mainly for kid games, sports scores and ordering the cheapest possible airline tickets, watch out! According to a multi-year tracking survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project (, the Web continues to be populated by younger generations - over half the adult internet population in the U.S. is between 18 and 44 years old. But today 72 percent of Americans age 50-64 use the Internet; 82 percent of those between 30-49 years old do.
Those older than 44 are using the Internet more and doing more activities online, the survey says. Not surprisingly, older generations use the Internet less for socializing and entertainment, and more as a tool for information searches, emailing and buying ...

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How to Manage Talent for the Upswing

Many distributors and suppliers have had to trim their work force due to a dramatic decline in demand over the past half-year. But when the economy starts to turn around, distributors will face another challenge: building back up. This article features expert opinion on what to keep in mind.
One of the biggest mistakes companies make in adjusting their work force during down times is cutting too deeply and not being able to recover when the economy rebounds. They are very much focused on the short-run, says Peter Capelli, director of the Center for Human Resources at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
This can cost companies in the long-run. In addition to the costs associated with layoffs - severance pay or ...

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Stock: A Casualty of the Housing Crisis

Stock Building Supply's Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection filing was a picture of what many in its sector have gone through since the housing market has fallen from its peak nearly four years ago.
Stock Building Supply's filing in support of bankruptcy protection outlines UK-based Wolseley's decision to exit the struggling Raleigh, NC-based building materials distributor. In its fiscal year ended July 31, 2008, Stock recorded a $744 million loss. It had $3.5 billion in sales. The distributor filed for Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection May 6, 2009.
James Major, vice president, finance and strategic planning, wrote that single-family housing starts had dropped by more than 80 percent since their peak in 2005. In addition, declining lumber and panel ...

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ORCO Construction Supply’s Deal with HD Supply

HD Supply White Cap, Costa Mesa, CA, has agreed to purchase OCRO Construction Supply Inc. for $17 million. Headquartered in Livermore, CA, ORCO operates 11 distribution centers and two rebar facilities in California, Arizona and Nevada. The sale is expected to close on June 1, 2009.
HD Supply White Cap has great depth in the western markets where we currently operate and will continue to offer ORCO's customers high-quality services and a broad assortment of products, which they have come to count on, said Peter Alexander, ORCO's CEO and president.
ORCO Construction Supply will be integrated into the HD Supply White Cap business and will begin operating under the HD Supply White Cap brand following the closing of the transaction. ORCO ...

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Monthly Wholesale Trade: March 2009

March 2009 sales of wholesalers were $310.9 billion, down 2.4 percent from February and were down 18.1 percent from March 2008, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. March sales of durable goods were down 3.3 percent from last month and were down 19.6 percent from a year ago. Sales of metals and minerals, except petroleum, were down 10.6 percent from last month and sales of electrical and electronic goods were down 5.9 percent. Sales of nondurable goods were down 1.6 percent from last month and were down 16.9 percent from last year. Sales of petroleum and petroleum products were down 5.1 percent from last month and sales of chemicals and allied products were down 5.0 percent.
Total inventories of wholesalers were $411.7 billion at the end of March, down ...

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MDM News Digest 3910

Kennametal Inc., Latrobe, PA, has agreed to sell its high speed steel drills, related product lines and assets to Chinese manufacturer Top-Eastern Drill Co., Ltd, a manufacturer of high speed steel drills and taps. The transaction includes four facilities in Evans, Georgia; Clemson, South Carolina; Mexico City, Mexico; and Mississauga, Ontario. More
Anixter International Inc., Glenview, IL, a global distributor of communication products, electrical and electronic wire & cable, fasteners and other small parts, reported sales for the first quarter ended April 3 were $1.27 billion, down 14 percent from the year ago quarter. Profit declined 54 percent to $25.7 million. ...

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Chicago Fed National Activity Index Edges Up In April

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index was -2.06 in April, up from -3.36 in March. All four broad categories of indicators improved in April, but each continued to make a negative contribution to the index.
The three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, increased to -2.65 in April from -3.29 in the previous month, improving for the third consecutive month. April's CFNAI-MA3 suggests that growth in national economic activity was below its historical trend. With regard to inflation, it indicates low inflationary pressure from economic activity over the coming year.
The increase in the index was primarily due to the production and income category, which made a much smaller negative contribution of -0.35 to the index in April compared with -1.09 in March. Total ...

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First Quarter 2009 Public Distributor Report

About this report: This is the MDM Public Distributor Report, provided on a quarterly basis to subscribers of Modern Distribution Management. The report is available online only.

Click here to download this report in pdf.

A common theme in public distributors' earnings conference calls for the second quarter was a lack of visibility into potential conditions for the rest of the year. Overall the sales environment continues to be challenging for our industry," says Michael Grebe, Interline Brands CEO. "Visibility remains extremely low, and like our distribution peers, we are not at a point where we see a meaningful recovery in the very near term."
Here is a ...

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