January 25, 2012 - Modern Distribution Management

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January 25, 2012

Commentary: Customer Service Lessons: ‘Moments of Truth’

It has been a valuable lesson for my company in what longtime sales and marketing consultant Peg Fisher called a “moment of truth.” In one of her many articles in MDM, she outlined how customer service consists of a series of ‘moments of truth’ customers experience with your company. Every person has the ability to make a positive impact on customer relations. This includes the way the telephone is answered, the use of voicemail, email, error-free orders, accurate billings, realistic promises made and kept, the integrity of information provided, and extends to vendors who directly or indirectly touch the customer.....

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Global Markets Are Not Just for Large Companies Anymore

With the U.S. economy still struggling to fully recover and global markets more accessible than ever, more companies are exploring expanding their businesses across borders. Global business development expert and author Mona Pearl recently spoke with MDM about why this is an important trend, how middle-market companies should approach such a task and how to overcome some common mistakes made along the way.

Middle-market companies face a unique set of challenges in an increasingly global business environment. They don’t have the same resources available to them as large multinational corporations, yet when looking to expand, they’re finding the need to compete on that same global stage.

“It’s really not an option if they want to keep being in business. Nothing is going back to where it was,” says Mona Pearl, a global business development expert and author of Grow Globally: Opportunities for Your Middle-Market Company Around the World. 

“It’s going to be...

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MDM Interview: Services in Alternative Energy, Efficiency Drive Rexel

Recent controversy surrounding the funding of solar energy companies, led by the bankruptcy filing of Fremont, CA-based Solyndra, hasn’t swayed Rexel Holdings USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Paris, France-based Rexel Group and No. 3 on MDM’s top 25 electrical distributors list, away from the alternative energy market. Chris Hartmann, executive vice president and CEO of Rexel Holdings USA, recently spoke with Associate Editor Jenel Stelton-Holtmeier about how the company has shifted to meet changing market needs, the future of alternative energy and the challenges Rexel and the electrical distribution industry will face going forward.

MDM: How has business been for Rexel?

Chris Hartmann: Right now, things are going fairly well. Similar to all businesses in our industry we certainly faced some tough challenges over the past few years. But year-to-date in 2011 same store sales are up over 10 percent, which we’re very pleased with because a little bit more than ...

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Optimism Returns in MDM-Baird Quarterly Trends Survey

Robert W. Baird & Co., in partnership with Modern Distribution Management, conducted a survey of nearly 600 distributors and manufacturers to gauge business trends and the outlook for the distribution industry in diverse sectors. Here is a summary of fourth-quarter results and distributor and manufacturer expectations for the first quarter and full year of 2012.

Respondents to the fourth quarter 2011 MDM/Baird survey were much more optimistic than previous surveys, with more than half expecting growth in 2012. Just 5 percent expect economic growth to be negative this year.

That’s a great turnaround from the third quarter, when in response to a slightly different question, just 19 percent said ...

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