Day: April 25, 2011

Grainger Returns to Acquisitions

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One of the largest MRO distributors, Chicago, IL-based Grainger, has returned to acquisitions as a growth vehicle after several years of building and refining its branch network and sales strategy. Now, Grainger is using acquisitions to fuel growth overseas, as well as to build out key parts of its portfolio, including services and specialty brands.

On the Specialty Brands side, Grainger has been refining …

1Q MDM/Baird Survey: Competitive Pressures Grow

Robert W. Baird & Co., in partnership with Modern Distribution Management, conducted a survey of more than 600 distributors and manufacturers to gauge business trends and the outlook for the distribution industry in diverse sectors. Here is a summary of first-quarter results.

On average, respondents to the latest quarterly MDM/Baird survey said first-quarter revenues were up 8.7 percent year-over-year. In the fourth-quarter survey, respondents indicated sales were up 10.3 percent.

Respondents expect the positive trend to...

Manufacturers Rethink Rebate Structure

Long-time industry expert Mike Workman says that many distributors have "bought their bottom lines" through rebates for decades. But some manufacturers are changing their approach to rebates to better align their growth goals with distributors.

In many sectors of wholesale distribution, rebates have been a foundation for how the manufacturer-distributor relationship is defined. But those relationships are shifting and the demands manufacturers are placing on their distributor partners are shifting, as well.

Since the end of the recession, manufacturers are …