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The joint initiative was announced at NAW's 2004 Executive Summit in Washington, DC. It is anticipated that the relationship will have an initial phase of two years during which the two organizations will develop and deploy knowledge that distributor management can apply to their business practices to help wholesaler-distributors remain a strongly preferred force in the supply chain. NAW's Distribution Research and Education Foundation will be involved in the initiative, as well.
'This is a truly exciting undertaking,' said NAW Chairman Andre Lacy. 'Our distribution industry has long been the best in the world. Through our relationship with Deloitte in this initiative, we intend to help it remain world class by helping to bring the best management strategies and business practices to our industry in a manner which facilitates efficient and effective implementation by distribution companies.'
'These discussions with Deloitte started when we learned of their very successful implementation of an SAP enterprise system for Graybar Electric Company, a major NAW member,' said NAW President Dirk Van Dongen. 'This led us into discussions with Neil Gholson, Deloitte Consulting's Global Segment Leader, Wholesale Distribution. Neil's passion for wholesale distribution was immediately evident, one thing led to another, and both organizations ultimately realized the value of establishing a truly comprehensive relationship.'
Deloitte's distribution focus
Based in part on its SAP implementation assistance with Graybar, which achieved a complete rather than phased SAP install, Deloitte US was retained recently by W.W. Grainger to assist with its SAP implementation. Gholson told MDM the experience his firm has gained over the past few years is a strong platform to build its expertise out through wholesale distribution. 'We are looking forward to bringing real value to the members of NAW by providing research, benchmarking studies and a practical understanding of emerging technology that can help this industry improve margins, increase asset efficiency and grow revenues.'
Gholson said he first wants to put Deloitte's strong research capabilities in play with his group's distribution knowledge to produce a real baseline to help distributors measure improvements they make. He also plans to develop a series of white papers on new technologies, including radio frequency identification (RFID) and master data maintenance. They will be practical tools, not theory, he says. A year from now, Gholson hopes to present an 'Enterprise Value Map' to assist distributors in identifying opportunities based on their core capabilities.