This first of a two-part article argues that wholesaler-distributors need a different approach to strategic planning based on their unique operating environments. Here's how to frame the process and best practices for distributor strategic planning. The second part of this article addresses how to build and implement an effective plan.
Only 4 percent of wholesaler-distributors reported that they engaged in strategic planning in 1982, according to the original NAW/DREF study, Facing the Forces of Change. Much has changed over the past 25 years. Recent surveys of eight industries by my firm indicate that 30-40 percent of distributors have a formal strategic plan, and many others use some sort of informal long-range planning process.