MDM's Top Premium Content of 2023 - Modern Distribution Management

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MDM’s Top Premium Content of 2023

We continue our year-end retrospective series with a look back at MDM's top Premium content of 2023, which encapsulates our most-read top value content.
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As 2023 comes to a close, MDM is taking a look back at the content our readers engaged with the most this past year. Last week we showed MDM’s Top Free Blogs of 2023. Here, we’ll walk through our top Premium articles.

This also provides a great opportunity to remind our readers about the value of MDM’s Premium, which is exclusive to our Premium subscribers. While we strive for excellence in all MDM content, Premium represents our best. It’s where you’ll find our most in-depth, most-researched and most exclusive content. Premium articles often include case studies, topic deep dives, data analysis and commentary on the issues that matter most to distribution executives.

In a nutshell, MDM Premium is our top-value content.

Not a current Premium subscriber? You can change that here. You can also feel free to reach out to me at for any questions about what you can expect in a Premium subscription.

If you’re already a Premium subscriber, we thank you for your patronage this year, and we look forward to further strengthening our Premium content offering in 2024. If you like what you’ve been seeing, we encourage you to spead the word or consider gifting a colleague a subscription so that they too can be privy to our best content.

We published approximately 80 Premium articles during 2023. Here are the 20 that garnered the most reads:

Quantum Costing: The Better Alternative to ABC (and the Cost Model You Always Wanted) – published Feb. 23: In many sectors, Activity-Based Costing is being replaced by Quantum Costing, a newer and more accurate alternative that adds power and benefits to cost analysis. Randy MacLean explains the differences here.

2024 is Your Investment Year, and 2019 is Never Coming Back: Takeaways from Alan Beaulieu – published Nov. 20: As a primer for 2024, I condensed ITR Economics’ Alan Beaulieu’s STAFDA Convention keynote presentation into seven key points.

ChatGPT’s Big Potential in Supplier Negotiations – published May 16: I discussed how AI chatbot tech is being utilized by a retail giant in supplier negotiations, and how it can apply in distribution.

What Distribution Executives Don’t Understand About Profitability and Pricing – published March 1: I distilled key takeaways from a NAW Executive Summit session that featured distribution executives discussing what leading companies do differently when it comes to profits and pricing strategy.

Home Depot’s Plan to Serve the Untapped Contractor Market – published July 6: Vesna Brajkovic details how Home Depot targets a market typically served by wholesale distributors with its plans to be a one-stop-shop for complex contractor projects.

The State of Grainger’s Footprint: What’s Changed and What Hasn’t – published Aug. 28: I analyzed the MRO products giant’s physical presence, which has surpassed 30 million square feet.

Breaking Down the DSG-Hisco Acquisition and its Market Impact – published April 5: A few days after Distribution Solutions Group announced it would buy Hisco for up to $319 million, I extracted nuggets from DSG’s investor call that shared more details about all the moving pieces involved.

What are Distributors’ Economic Expectations for 2024? – published Nov. 7: More than three-fourths of executives who responded to the 3Q 2023 Baird-MDM Industrial Survey said they expect either flat or modest growth in 2024.

A Year After its Formation, A Deep Dive on Distribution Solutions Group – published March 22: With a year past since Lawson Products, TestEquity and GexPro Services combined to form DSG, we detailed what the combined company looked like in size and scope, as well as its capabilities and offerings. Of course, DSG went on to announce its acquisition of Hisco just a week later.

How Did Pricing Inflation Affect Gross Margin in 2022? Here’s What Distributors Said – published April 17: We compared findings from the Baird-MDM Industrial Distribution Survey deployed at the end of 4Q22 and 1Q23, both which asked distribution executives to indicate how much of their revenue and margin growth was due to inflationary pricing.

Poll Results: Could a Four-Day Workweek Work in Distribution? – published March 6: The world’s largest trial of the four-day work week drew rave reviews from companies that participated. Could the distribution industry benefit from such a change? We shared the results of our own poll on that question.

How Distributors Can Drive Value Amid New Business Models – published Aug. 22: New manufacturing business models are disrupting traditional distribution channels, creating risks and opportunities. Several actions can allow distributors to add value for OEMs alongside growth and profitability for themselves. Amar Mehta advises.

Friction Fixes: How to Align Sales with Operations – published May 9: The age-old conflict of sales vs. revenue operations doesn’t have to be a combative relationship. Here, I distilled takeaways from an ISA23 session on ways to make this dynamic more collaborative.

Analysis: What Can Manufacturers Do to Reduce Distributor-Supplier Friction? – published July 27: The 2Q Baird-MDM industrial distribution survey asked distribution executives how manufacturers could make partnerships more efficient. We discuss the results and share plenty of interesting commentary.

In Distribution Dealmaking, Burying Bodies Never Ends Well – published March 20: I share insights from the final session of MDM’s February virtual M&A Summit, which dove into the specifics of dealmaking communication.

How Global Industrial Became a Distribution Outperformer – published Oct. 30: This recounted my fireside chat with Barry Litwin at MDM’s SHIFT conference, where the CEO detailed how the company actioned its many recent initiatives.

Home Depot’s HD Supply Eyes Deeper MRO Market Penetration – published Aug. 3: Three years following its re-acquisition of HD Supply, the DIY and contractor supply retail giant shared plans for HD Supply’s role in expanding market outreach.

How to Refresh and Refine Your Customer Segmentation – published April 19: This piece from Redwood Advisors focuses on how your organization can develop a detailed customer segmentation methodology.

What Distributors Stand to Gain from America’s Factory Building Boom – published April 12: U.S. factory construction spending hit a record level in 2022, and it didn’t slow down in 2023. Here, I broke down down the numbers and what this means for distribution.

Inside Werner Electric’s Digital Evolution – published Jan. 1: Werner’s VP of Products, Services and Marketing gave a great presentation at AD’s eCommerce & Marketing Summit in which he detailed the distributor’s multi-year and ongoing journey that defined a digital strategy that caters to an omnichannel customer experience.

Oldie but a Goodie

This Premium piece was published prior to 2023, but still placed among the most-read Premium items of this past year. That lasting traction illustrates the evergreen value of its content:

Behind the Scenes of the Zoro/Distributor Relationship – published April 10, 2020 (No. 2 overall): Zoro merchandises its nearly 4 million products thanks to help from its behind the scenes partnerships with a variety of distributors, from small businesses to larger outlets, operating in conjunction with a range of online channels — except Amazon.

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