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What's a distributor to do? The article on p. 4 argues that the answer for most distributors is to create and play a different game where you set the rules. The company creates a distinct position in its market by delivering special value to customers through a unique blend of products and services. The value is defined by things other than the lowest price. A key point is you can't make up or fake special value; it's not a marketing gimmick, but rather a process that requires some soul-searching and planning for the company leaders to define the company's future.
The second article on p. 6 outlines how many distributors focus on the wrong contacts at an account, do the same sales call as always, and therefore limit the ability to really raise the level of the customer relationship.
It's all about being customer-centric, and finding ways to become more valuable to your customers. That spells success for the customer, and translates into higher margins and a long-term business model that weathers downturns as well as you can.
With as much concern for global security issues and reliable sources of supply, won't there be a backlash to the low-price-at-all-costs mentality? Yes, at some point the pendulum swings back, but not unless there is a clear and distinct value that quantifies why your company should be selected and not someone down the block or around the world, i.e. why you are different and better.