MDM’s Top Free Blogs of 2023: Distributor Rankings, Fastenal ‘Pivot’ Series Lead the Way - Modern Distribution Management

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MDM’s Top Free Blogs of 2023: Distributor Rankings, Fastenal ‘Pivot’ Series Lead the Way

A three-part Fastenal case study was a smash hit, as was the launch of MDM’s 2023 Top Distributors Lists feature, which wasn’t the only list to garner high interest.
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Expectedly, the blog announcing the go-live of our 2023 Top Distributors Lists feature was the top view-getter, but it wasn’t the only list represented among our top blogs. As you’ll see below, several other accolade lists involving distributors were of high interest.

On the thought leadership side, the “Fastenal’s Big Pivot” series from Dorn Group’s Channel Strategy and Profitability Leader John Gunderson — formerly MDM’s SVP of Analytics and eBusiness — was a smash hit. Each of its three parts placed in the top 10 of our most viewed free blogs of the year, which is remarkable given their late-year timing in that the first piece published on Nov. 14. 

Collectively, that series represented the most popular blog content we published this year. It provided a valuable case study on a company that McKinsey & Company’s Distribution practice leaders labeled as a “Rockstar” for growing enterprise value during the research firm’s keynote presentation at MDM’s SHIFT Conference on Sept. 18 in Denver.

Here are the most viewed free blogs published on MDM during 2023, authored by a mix of MDM staff and valued contributors. Five of the top 10 were published Nov. 14 or later:

MDM’s 2023 Top Distributors Lists Are Now Live – published June 8. To no surprise, MDM’s biggest feature of the year led to our most-viewed blog of the year. This helps illustrate the anticipation for our Top Distributors Lists. We’ll kick off our data gathering project for the 2024 version shortly after publicly traded firms finish reporting their October-December financials by mid-February.

Here’s Which Distributors Made Fortune’s 2023 ‘Most Admired’ List – published Feb. 6. More than a handful of companies on our Top Distributors Lists garnered the reputation-based honor from Fortune.

Fastenal’s Big Pivot, Pt. 2: Sales Specialization & Realignment – published Nov. 21. The second part of John Gunderson’s detective case study examines the role Fastenal’s sales specialization and realignment programs have played in driving a decade-long performance increase.

Amazon Business Hits $35-Billion Mark in GMV – published April 17. For the first time in nearly two years, Amazon shared annualized revenue figures for its business products marketplace unit. Tom Gale put that figure into perspective.

How Fastenal Made the ‘Big Pivot’ that Paid Big Dividends – published Nov. 14. John Gunderson began his series by examining Fastenal’s transformation from a branch count-heavy distributor to one prioritizing integrated supply and self-service.

Here’s Where Distributors Rank on Forbes’ 2023 List of America’s Largest Private Companies – published Nov. 28. This blog identified which industrial, commercial and building supply distributors charted on Forbes’ annual list of the largest privately-owned companies by revenue.

Fastenal’s Big Pivot, Pt. 3: Investments, Line Expansions & Digital Growth – published Nov. 30. To conclude his series, John Gunderson examined the role that Fastenal’s investments, product line expansions and digital growth have played to drive growth over the past decade.

Spaghetti Diagram: A Distribution Center Efficiency Weapon – published July 21. As part of the six sigma methodology, Infor’s Will Quinn lays out how to create a spaghetti diagram and how to leverage it for more efficient warehouse management.

AI in the Field: The Secret to Success in Outside Sales – published May 2. founder and CEO Benj Cohen discusses how artificial intelligence can help outside sales representatives engage with customers more effectively.

The Top 50 B2B Marketplaces: A New Ranking – published No. 15. Did I mention our audience likes lists involving distributors? Along with the list, Applico’s new report found that B2B marketplaces raised $2.2 billion in 2021 investment and $1.7 billion in the first nine months of 2022.

Amazon’s Best Kept Secret: eProcurement Integrations – published April 3.

3 Profit Levers Distributors May Pull Under High Pressure – published July 7.

Home Depot Settlement Highlights Industry Labor Pitfalls – published June 30.

The BradyIFS Acquisition Train Just Keeps on Rolling – published April 7.

Europe’s Top 25 B2B Marketplaces and a U.S. Comparison – published May 8.

Private Brand Strategies that Create Real Value for Customers – published June 23.

See Which Distributors Made Newsweek’s ‘Most Responsible Companies’ List – published Dec. 7

The Power of Strategic Pricing in Industrial Distribution – published April 10

Is Technology Helping or Hurting Your Employee Retention Efforts? – published June 16

Q&A: Cooper Electric Branch Manager on Her Career Path & Women in Distribution – published Aug. 24

Oldies but Goodies

These blogs were published before 2023, but were still among the most-viewed free blogs on MDM this year. Three of them were in the overall top five. Their continued traction shows the evergreen value of their content.

The 3 Ps of Outstanding Customer Experience – published May 23, 2019 (No. 2 overall). At four years old, this was the second-most viewed free blog on MDM overall this year, showing that customer experience tips remain vital for our audience, and some remain evergreen despite accelerating changes in those expectations. Tim Bailey examines how devoting equal attention to product, process and people can help distributors create loyal brand promoters.

The 4 Phases Needed to Develop a Successful Business Plan – published Jan. 5, 2021 (No. 3 overall). Develop a strategic plan that allows you to be intentional in your actions through introspection, idea generation, execution and ongoing evaluation, according to Channel Marketing Group’s David Gordon.

The Pros and Cons of Cost-Based Pricing & Other Pricing Strategies – published Sept. 13, 2021 (No. 5 overall). When it comes to pricing anything (B2B, B2C, product or service), there are three key strategies to achieve price optimization. Michael Stanisz explains.

The Technology Behind Amazon’s Search Dominance – published Oct. 19, 2020. (No. 16 overall).’s Benj Cohen discusses how the online juggernaut uses AI-backed search expertise to improve its e-commerce effectiveness and overcome competitors.

4 Causes of Forecast Error and How Distributors Can Avoid Them – published April 9, 2020 (No. 21 overall).

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