Distributors have been through cycles of challenge and response before, but change is different in the digital age. Past challenges came from industry insiders with game-changing business models built around leveraging scale and removing redundancies across the value chain. Examples include big-box retailers, high-share consolidators, integrated suppliers, disintermediators and vertical integrators. The challenge for distributors was real, but the changes were familiar. New rules of competition emerged, but the fundamental roles of manufacturers, distributors and customers remained.
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