Distributors are constantly reminded that they need to embrace new technologies, differentiate to prove value and analyze data to serve customers better. All these changes are intended to help distributors remain relevant, but every business is different. Innovating business practices to determine exactly where to implement change is difficult to pinpoint.
Identifying opportunities, and then choosing the ones that are right for your business, can be considered the biggest challenges.
In the MDM Executive Briefing: Know the Business You’re In, industry expert Steve Epner discusses how to simplify the approach to change.
“Ask yourself, what business should we be in, that will help us get more customers and make more money?” Epner says.
He says that competing with other businesses in the same business as you gives you fewer areas to compete in.
“If the railroads had been in the transportation business instead of the railroad business, they would have owned the airlines,” Epner says.
A similar method worked well for Martin Industrial Supply, a company that had been selling safety products, but wasn’t known as a safety solutions provider. In 7 Minutes With … Martin Industrial Supply, David Ruggles, president, says that the company found a new customer base when they created a new division of the company.
Segmenting out safety products and services shed new light on what the company had to offer, he says, and it is now one of the fastest growing divisions within Martin Inc.
“We’ve had a number of successes with Fortune 500 companies that have awarded us their safety supply contracts and their safety services contracts,” Ruggles says. “If we had not made the move to bring on the safety professionals, we wouldn’t have been considered for the business because we just wouldn’t be thought of as a safety solutions provider."
Faster communication, simpler buying options and lots of competition are all driving higher customer expectations. Sometimes, a new perspective on what options are available can open doors that didn’t exist before.
Access more past episodes of MDM Executive Briefing at mdm.com/executivebriefing.