When the 2022 calendar turned to June, it seemed the biggest topic of conversation in the wholesale distribution industry was the economy — and in particular, the numerous red flags that seemed to point to an imminent recession.
Three months later, there are still plenty of red flags, but the element of fear surrounding them has become less scary. This was partly due to the stronger-than-expected financials shown by major distributors and manufacturers in their second quarter earnings reports throughout July and early August, along with raised full-year expectations and optimistic commentary from their executives.
This was reflected in a recent MDM Premium article I wrote summarizing the latest U.S. Census Bureau data by the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado-Boulder, showing that distributors’ 2022 full-year revenue expectations improved during August compared to June and July, while their expectations for 2023 and 2024 worsened.
Meanwhile, with any luck, U.S. inflation may have peaked in July, based on improved consumer inflation (CPI) data. However, that would only mean the rate of inflation has peaked, as rising prices and Fed Rate hikes may very well continue for some time. We kicked off August with Nelson Valderrama’s “5 Ways Distributors Can Manage Inflation” piece on Aug. 1 to help guide the way.
Several other Premium pieces last month shared survey data from the 2Q22 Baird-MDM Industrial Distribution Survey, which asked 500-plus respondents for their input on if they were yet seeing signs of a recession and their top areas of concern for 2023. Also on the economic front, I provided an overview of where things stood on the shipping and supply chain front as of Aug. 24.
Other Premium content during August focused on how diversification has paid off at major oil & gas products distributors; a new report on factors influencing the hiring and retention of distribution talent; how eCommerce integration is driving profitability; and we closed the month with my Aug. 31 piece on reshoring’s potential impacts on the distribution sector.
Also, MDM’s SHIFT | The Future of Distribution conference is nearly here! Being held Sept. 25-27 in Broomfield, Colorado, it features a stellar lineup of 30-plus speakers who will inform on topics of digital transformation, hybrid sales and data analytics. There’s still time to register and book travel if you haven’t yet.