Today, radio-frequency identification (RFID) technologies are being widely touted as the next major breakthrough in inventory management. Despite the rosy projections, wholesaler-distributors should be wary of the hype given substantial uncertainty about technological feasibility, costs, and the willingness of supply chain partners to embrace this technology.
Companies in many industries are experimenting with RFID for supply-chain applications. Pallets, cases or even individual items can be uniquely identified and tracked as they are manufactured, transported, purchased and used or consumed. Inventory quantities and locations can be precisely pinpointed, making it possible for products to pass through the entire supply chain ...
Integrated supply, once championed as an engine of growth for distributors, now stands at a crossroads. Some industry observers suggest the evolution of integrated supply will require no more than the adoption of a fee-for-service business model. In contrast, my conversations with senior executives at some of the largest integrators suggest that these executives vastly underestimate the challenges of moving beyond their distributor roots.
Companies providing integrated supply – both "pure integrators" and large distributors with an integrated supply business – will need to dramatically improve their organizations to compete seriously with specialist companies already offering MRO procurement services.
Over the next few years, self-service options will radically change your salesforce and the way you do business with customers. Some customers will simply not value ' and refuse to pay for ' a wholesaler-distributor's outside salesforce. This conclusion comes from findings in the new Facing the Forces of Change: The Road to Opportunity report. Here's an excerpt that outlines sales planning strategies to successfully counter the impact of customer self-service.
Distributors no longer have a lock on information needed by customers to make purchasing and sourcing decisions, since manufacturers and online sources will increasingly make such information more readily available. As a result, the salesforce's perceived value in educating customers about new products and in-use ...
Reverse auctions represent a sourcing strategy many distributors will be forced to cope with in the coming years ' a situation likely to upset many wholesale distribution executives. This conclusion comes from the new Facing the Forces of Change: The Road to Opportunity report (available from the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors here.
Strategic sourcing is a process by which customers gather and use information about their own spending patterns to reduce purchasing costs. Strategic sourcing initiatives aim to counter the field-level sales and marketing efforts of wholesale distribution sales reps trying to influence local buying decisions.
Understanding reverse auctions
Reverse auctions are real-time price ...
Overall revenues for distributors are forecast to rise 5.6 percent. Distributors selling into industrial and construction markets are forecast to see revenue growth of about 5 percent in 2004.
With the end of 2003 rapidly approaching the time to start planning is upon us. In this article we provide a 2004 forecast for wholesale distribution industry, a snapshot of next year's construction and contracting markets, and a detailed overview of the industrial market based on our new report for the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW) titled NAW Economic Forecast 2004 (www.nawpubs.org).
Our new report addresses many markets including automotive, healthcare, computers, semiconductors, construction, food/grocery, industrial, building products, metals, ...
The crosshairs of deflationary product price trends and rising payroll costs are triggering an unprecedented gross profit squeeze for distributors who rely solely on margin mark-up pricing. Here's the evidence on deflation in the industrial economy, the profit impact of these trends, and three strategies for survival.
Last month, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan startled financial markets by stating that the threat of deflation "though minor, is sufficiently large that it does require very close scrutiny and maybe – maybe – action on the part of the central bank."
Deflation – measured by a decline in product prices – is already a reality for many companies. Excluding the highly volatile food and energy industries, the overall Producer Price Index – measuring ...
Executive Summary: This article provides industrial manufacturers with three key strategies for managing their industrial channels. The strategies are built around results-oriented management of distributors based on customer needs and channel economics.
Industrial supply chains and marketing channels are being redrawn as e-business, consolidation, and integrated supply alter the relationship between manufacturer, distributor and customer. This evolution is much more complicated that the na've predictions that industrial distributors would be 'disintermediated' as customers and manufacturers established direct relationships. But how can manufacturers best leverage their existing industrial channels to grow in this era of uncertainty?
Think back over the past 10 years of your professional life. What happened that significantly influenced your company and career? Chances are, such trends as consolidation, e-commerce, economic growth, and the recent downturn come to mind.
Now suppose you had a few years' advance notice about each of these developments. Would you have done things differently? Could you have avoided mistakes and taken more advantage of opportunities? Of course. All of us would plan better if we knew what the future would be like.
Scenario planning is a management tool that distributors can use to anticipate and profit from change. This article provides a brief introduction to scenario planning for distributors and shows you how to use this valuable tool in your own company.
Executive summary: Fee-for-service will be a logical evolution of the traditional gross margin pricing model for the industrial distribution channel. Distributors and manufacturers need to strategically evaluate the outcomes of a fee-for-service world. This article presents three guidelines to predict the ultimate success or failure of service fees along with a scenario on how the channel could change if service fees work.
Distributors are understandably enthusiastic about new fee-for-service pricing models. Distribution exists to solve the problems that customers have in sourcing, acquiring, handling, and using products. Historically, they have been 'paid' for these specific tasks and functions in a marketing channel or supply chain in the form of gross …
MDM July 25, 2001 - Executive summary: Key to an effective technology strategy is to optimize strategic fit and performance for the present business, while positioning yourself to compete in an uncertain future. An honest customer-driven orientation is the most important roadmap for managing technology investments. You need to understand how end-user customers buy and want - not just which products they buy or who they are.
This article is adapted from the new NAW report, Facing the Forces of Change: Future Scenarios for Wholesale Distribution.