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Day: January 25, 2011

Channel Choke: Demand spikes create product shortages

Availability of product and raw materials has become a challenge for some distributors as demand continues to improve. This article looks at the sources of the problem, the outlook for 2011, and how companies can improve forecasting in a volatile environment.

Manufacturers that had to make significant cuts to operations during the Great Recession are now struggling to ramp up, and some distributors are finding themselves unable to locate the product necessary to meet spiking demand.

"It takes time for companies who had to scale back to get back to the breadth of their product lines," says Norbert J. Ore, chairman of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. "As a result, some companies have had spot shortages, particularly of components."

Nearly half (48 percent) of respondents to the annual MDM Reader Survey in November …

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2010 Fourth Quarter/Annual Inflation by Commodity Report

These 59 product groups provide a snapshot of inflation trends based on the Producer Price Index from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fourth quarter 2010 is compared with fourth quarter 2009, and third quarter 2010 with fourth quarter 2010. Year-end 2009 is compared with year-end 2010. To access, premium subscribers should ensure they are logged-in to download this pdf report by clicking Download pdf below the product list (link shown after logging in).

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  • Abrasives
  • Adhesives & Sealants
  • Metal Cutting Machine Tools
  • Metal Forming Machine Tools
  • Pumps, Compressors, & Eqmt
  • Ind. Material Handling Eqmt
  • Ind. Rubber Products, nec
  • Ind. Safety Eqmt
  • Metal Valves (not fluid power)
  • Steel Mill Products


  • Softwood Lumber
  • Hardwood Lumber
  • General Millwork
  • Gypsum Products
  • Hardboard, Particlebd, Fiberbd
  • Plywood
  • Plastic Construction Products
  • Wood Ties, Siding, Shingles, Shakes


  • Electrical Machinery & Eqmt
  • Electronic Components & Accs
  • Integrating and Measuring Instruments
  • Motors & Generators
  • Wiring Devices
  • Transformers & Power Regulators
  • Switchgear, Switchboard, etc. Eqmt
  • Communications & Related Eqmt
  • Electric Lamp Bulbs & Parts

Power Transmission & Fluid Power

  • Mechanical Power Transmission Eqmt
  • Ball & Roller Bearings
  • Plain Bearings & Bushings
  • Speed Changers, Drives & Gears
  • Fluid Power Equipment
  • Fluid Power Valves


  • Nuts, Bolts, Screws, Rivets, Washers (overall)
  • Aircraft Fasteners
  • Externally Threaded Fasteners
  • Internally Threaded Fasteners
  • Nonthreaded Metal Fasteners


  • Cutting Tools & Accessories (overall)
  • Hand & Edge Tools
  • Power-Driven Hand Tools
  • Precision Measuring Tools
  • Small Cutting Tools
  • Tools, Dies, Jigs, Molds, Fixtures

Jan-San & Packaging

  • Sanitary Paper Products
  • Spec. Cleaning, Polish & Sanitary Products
  • Boxes
  • Label/Wrap Printing for Packaging
  • Packaging & Ind. Converting Paper
  • Packaging Products from Plastics


  • Hardware (overall)
  • Builders’ Hardware


  • Air Cond. & Refrigeration Eqmt
  • Heating Eqmt
  • Plumbing Fixtures & Fittings


  • Industrial Gases
  • Welding Machinery/Equipment


  • Plastic Resins & Materials
  • Plastic Products (overall)

Survey: Companies Seize Growth Opportunities

Citing an improving business environment, CFOs at large companies are more optimistic toward the outlook for their companies – even as their expectations on revenue and earnings growth moderate – according to key findings of the Deloitte CFO Signals quarterly survey for the fourth quarter of 2010.

Overall, 53 percent of surveyed CFOs at North America's largest companies are more optimistic than they were in the previous quarter, and CFOs are expecting an average 8 percent rise in capital spending over last year.

The survey, which includes CFOs representing many of North America's largest companies,…

Commentary: What’s Really Changed in 2011?

How different is your growth strategy for 2011 than 10 years ago? If you're hoping to float back up on the backs of existing customers, think again.

I recently had lunch with someone who had re-entered industrial distribution after working in building materials distribution for 10 years. It was something of a Twilight Zone experience for this person. In many ways the industry has not changed from when he first …

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