When planning for 2013, distributors can’t afford to ignore rapidly advancing technology, which touches diverse business areas from e-commerce and sales to warehouse management, customer service and logistics.
“For distributors, well-executed technology investments make a real difference,” says distribution consultant Brent Grover in The Little Black Book of Strategic Planning for Distributors. Analyzing a company's internal environment is one of the first steps Grover says a distributor should take in the strategic planning process.
The SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis is a helpful framework for that step, and it can be used to determine the opportunities and threats presented by a company's current software programs and its ability to make good use of them.
Having the right technological tools and being able to use them well will be a differentiator in 2013. Distributors who are honest with themselves during the strategic planning process about how poor technology can threaten business goals will have a clear view of potential opportunities to turn those weaknesses into strengths.