The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Market Leaders: Who’s Winning in 2015?

Is revenue really the best measure of success?

Ranked lists are useful – to a point. As in the case of our annual Market Leaders ranking of the largest 40 industrial distributors and also the largest companies across 13 other vertical product sectors (Editors' note: Our pharmaceutical list will be updated later this year), they can provide a snapshot of how consolidation is shaping the industry. Year after year, our lists reaffirm just how fragmented distribution markets are.

But every year I have mixed feelings about the revenue “scorecard.” It’s a little like a doctor using only pulse to determine a patient's overall health. This limited view does not give an indication of profitability, nor does it measure all the other factors that make for a healthy company.

Fragmented business environments by nature mean there are many ways to compete against those who own the largest market share by offering well-defined and differentiated products and services. Our 2015 Distribution Trends Special Issue goes beyond the annual ranking to pull together a collection of our industry trend research and profiles of companies that are adapting their models to build stronger, more competitive positions in the markets where they compete.

With our MDM Market Movers, we highlight examples of companies proactively capitalizing on the disruptive aspects of the current technology revolution we are in and ones that seek new ways to enhance the critical partnerships that define this industry.

If this were an industry where the top two or three competitors owned 50 percent or 60 percent of the market, then the revenue scorecard would have a bit more meaning as the best barometer of health and success. But that's just not the case with wholesale distribution.

MDM will continue to profile the creative and innovative ways that companies of all sizes are growing highly profitable niches by outserving their competitors. There are many of these stories across all sectors of distribution, and there will be for a long time.

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