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The term "value-added" has had a hard year. It's caught between a rock and a hard place. Consolidating customer bases have many distributors rethinking the size and make-up of their companies. Many manufacturers of products sold through distribution have not had the resources to invest in new product development, so distributors don't have a lot of innovative new product right now as a platform for extending customer relationships.
There are some notable exceptions, and this issue addresses how some companies are enjoying good growth in tough markets. One of the common denominators is they are leveraging their relationships ﾖ focusing on core strengths and extending the strengths of their manufacturer partners. The bar is being raised in distribution channels, as it was raised coming out of the recession in the early 1990s when there was a drive both to increase quality and decrease redundancy.
Customer tastes and markets are getting more sophisticated and complicated to read today. Distributors have to be more selective in who they partner with and how they match skills and capabilities. Resources are too limited to settle for a shotgun approach in any aspect of operations. New products are important, but increasingly they are just one of several important pieces of a more complex pie a distributor has to manage in order to constantly finetune its "value-added" market position.