On July 27, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced a further 75-basis point hike for interest rates — its second such increase in a span of just six weeks after not instituting a hike of that size since 1994. It was the central bank’s latest effort to curb inflation, which rose 9.1% in June, breaking its month-old, 40-year high mark of 8.6% in May. Indeed, the economy — and more so, what it has in store for the next six to 12 months — seemed to be the biggest topic of conversation as the calendar turned toward August. (Read more in MDM’s July 2022 issue of Premium Monthly.)
MDM Premium content illustrated this in a number of blogs that provided distribution-specific context and perspective around some of the “scary” numbers you’ve seen in various economic headlines over the past month. Stemming from the 2Q22 Baird-MDM Industrial Distribution Survey, one blog in the second half of the month shared the results and commentary from a polling question surrounding how distributors are adjusting inventory levels, if at all, ahead of a predicted industrial slowdown. Inventory has been treated like gold for much of this year by distributors in many verticals, given the length of supply chain backlogs, so it was interesting to see if that was still the case for distributors entering the second half of the year. (Or if they are pulling back.)
Also on the survey side of things, a July 21 blog likewise showed the results and commentary for respondents when asked if they plan to mandate, or at least encourage, their workers to return to the office full-time within the next year. Many distributors are treating hybrid work as the new normal, but it’s not for everyone, and the question led to interesting comments about the policies that different companies have instituted.
Another blog late in the month focuses on how, in spite of numerous economic red flags, large industrial distributors voiced optimism in their 2Q earnings reports about the outlook for demand the rest of the year. July also included an excellent contributed piece from Dorn Group’s Channel Sales and Marketing Strategy leader (and former MDM VP of Analytics) John Gunderson on the topic of making strategic business agreements more strategic — a vital element during a potential economic downturn.
Meanwhile, MDM’s SHIFT | The Future of Distribution conference is rapidly approaching. Set for Sept. 25-27 in Broomfield, Colorado, it will feature 30-plus speakers who will share guidance on topics of digital transformation, hybrid sales and data analytics. Find all the info and registration here.