MDM readers spent 2017 digging into news about distribution's market leaders and disrupters, as well as how to keep pace with a changing industry. News and analysis on Grainger and Amazon continued to garner attention, while vending and economic updates also were top of mind.
Here are our Top 10 Most-Read Blogs of 2017:
While often considered a leader in the distribution e-commerce space, Chicago, IL-based Grainger found itself playing catch-up online in 2017. New customers were turned off by the company's higher-than-market list prices, and existing large customers cited those same prices as a reason for not consolidating more purchases with Grainger.
Amazon: friend or foe? That was the question of the day at the NAW 2017 Executive Summit in Washington, DC, in January. Rob Green, director and general manager of Amazon Business, tried to provide some answers in his presentation, “Amazon Business is Here, What Does That Mean for Distribution?” But the audience reaction was probably not what Amazon was hoping for.
With the launch of Gamut.com, Grainger once again expanded its presence on and investment in e-commerce. But with all of the other moves the company is making to shore up its online presence, was launching a new site the right move?
As distribution e-commerce evolves, the focus shifted from pure functionality to the overall customer experience. But this shift also raised some big questions, including: How should you handle price visibility on your website? If your public list prices are too high, you may turn off potential customers – an issue that Grainger began tackling this year.
In a deal that significantly shifts the distribution competitive landscape for power transmission, MRO and flow technology products across Europe, private equity firm Advent International, which took Brammer private earlier this year, agreed to acquire IPH, a European industrial supplies distributor, from PAI Partners. Tom Gale breaks down what this means for the industry.
Following Grainger's realignment of its U.S. branch network has been completed, the Chicago, IL-based MRO distributor turned its attention north. The company announced in July that it would shutter 59 of its 144 branches in Canada.
MDM's lists of the top distributors in each sector – Industrial, Building Materials & Construction, Electrical, HVACR & Plumbing, Power Transmission & Bearings and others – provide the most comprehensive report in the wholesale distribution industry. Click through for the complete lists.
Alan Beaulieu issued a simple warning at September's joint NIBA/PTDA Industry Summit in Hollywood, FL, that should have all distributors preparing now for what's on the horizon. "It's been a good year, but there is a change coming," he said. "Things are going to slow down."
Mark Hill – the owner of I M C Supply Co., a distributor of industrial metal working supplies, and the founder of vending machine supply company 1sourcevend – shares the five distributor vending mistakes he sees most often.
Grainger extended its Schedule 51V contract with the General Services Administration for an additional five-year term. The blog lists the top 10 Schedule 51V suppliers in fiscal year 2017.