Distributors and manufacturers responding to a recent MDM survey seemed practical in their approach to opportunities in alternative energy markets.
Some said they were not interested in going after these markets, not knowing where they were headed. But others were more optimistic, saying the niche is a growing one, will likely grow for some time, and they want a piece of the pie. As one manufacturer said: "The growth rate is hard to ignore."
The growth rate may be hard to ignore, but with a rapid growth rate comes growing pains. And as detailed in the Sept. 10 issue of MDM, no one knows whether that growth rate will be sustainable leaving many to question how much and when they should invest in the space.
Distressed-debt deal values are growing at a pace close to double that in 2008, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Such deals occur when banks exchange debt for ownership in the companies, and according to the article, which cites Dealogic, are happening in all industries. One quote in the article: "The new cliché among restructuring professionals: Bankruptcy is the new M&A."
The mergers and acquisitions market in distribution has changed dramatically in the past 24 months. While several deals were announced weekly in 2006 and 2007, the market flow today has slowed to a trickle. MDM spoke with distribution M&A experts about current conditions, and when they believe the market could turn around.
The divestiture of Stock Building Supply by UK-based distributor Wolseley plc has sparked a string of expansions for small, local building materials distributors who are picking up the locations left by Stock. Or former owners of those locations are buying them back.
Theformer Stock branches are being reinvented as local, independent distributors.
And in many cases the former employees of those Stock locations are being rehired by the new owners. In this article by the Valley Courier, a family that owns another long-time nearby building materials distributor purchased the former Stock property. The distributor plans to re-open the location as Alamosa Building Supply ...
Here's a behind-the-scenes look from the Chicago Tribune at efficiencies in the online DVD service Netflix's operations - the author asks: How do consumers get their movies so quickly? While the article is short on a few details, a few pieces do stick out, namely the importance of finding the right employees and providing them the right benefits/pay to keep them around. And Netflix's use of the right technology to automate what humans would take much longer to do.
But most importantly, the article highlights Netflix's effective use of both talent and technology to get the job done, something that is not always easy, but continues to be more important as distributors deal with ...
Fuel, freight, and energy charges are some of the many items distributors are discovering some customers are willing to pay for. The key word is "some."
Brent Grover, author of the new book, "Strategic Pricing for Distributors: Tools and Rules for Building Higher Margins," recently spoke with MDM about his new book for the latest issue, and he says that the key for any add-on to an invoice is to do it in customer segments that are least likely to resist those charges. "It's not a matter of being tough and putting in an across-the-board change," he says. Distributors should not want to lose a customer due to an add-on charge.
"The ability to recover outbound freight charges is a big profit lever for distributors," ...
Brent Grover of Evergreen Consulting recently spoke with MDM about the importance of the concepts outlined in his latest book, "Strategic Pricing for Distributors: Tools and Rules for Building Higher Margins." Grover writes that strategic pricing can result in an increase of 200 or more basis points (2 percentage points) of gross margin percentage. "It's far more dramatic than slashing the staff or reducing sales commissions," he tells MDM. This article looks at why now is a good time to implement a new pricing strategy and analyzes the importance of two key aspects: the sales team and technology.
Grover's book, written as part fable featuring the fictitious Mahoning Distributors, and part practical guide, was released by the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors ...
Here at MDM we are in the midst of implementing some positive changes in how we do business. We are especially excited about one in particular, which we will be revealing to you in the next couple of months.
Our operations are different from a distributor's - MDM is a part of Gale Media, which is a specialized publishing and research business - but through our work, we are reminded of the challenges that come with change. Undoubtedly, these challenges transcend industry lines.
While we hope the ROI will be positive, there is only so much a business can control. And that's the fear factor in change.
But it's also exciting and provides a great opportunity for the company. We recognize the only way to continue growing is to make this investment of time and energy. We feel like ...
IndustryWeek today offers an endorsement of a distributor's value; the online magazine looks at what it means for a distributor to offer true value, and also offers "nontraditional performance measurements," as provided by SKF's Bill Moore, to judge whether a distributor is effective as a strategic partner.
Moore tells IndustryWeek that engineering assistance supplied by a distributor is one example of a value-add - it can address recurring equipment failure problems, and improve overall performance.
One metric Moore offers in the article - how prepared a distributor is to react in emergencies - anything from an equipment failure to a ...
Michael Jackson's death has spurred nonstop coverage from CNN, the tabloids, and everything in between. The King of Pop is all over the Web. And it's rare to turn on a TV news program without Jackson at its center.
Since the launch of CNN and 24-hour news, we have been able to get our news whenever we want it. As the World Wide Web has grown, we've been able to get updates almost literally by the second - as we did earlier this week during the Los Angeles-based Jackson memorial service.
It really is incredible how we can garner information about an event halfway across the country close to real-time; it was not that long ago when we would have had to wait for the full report and pictures of the memorial service until the next morning's paper was delivered.
These days, we are ...