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While many of today's new technologies, such as delivery drones or 3D printing, may have relatively limited applications for distributors, these technologies "have the potential of being very disruptive to their business models," according to Guy Blissett, wholesale distribution lead at IBM and author of the latest edition of Facing the Forces of Change: Reimagining Distribution in a Connected World, available now from the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors.
Blissett spoke with MDM for the latest episode of MDM Executive Briefing.
For example, while 3D printing may not have a huge role in manufacturing and distribution today, it may change the roles of manufacturers and distributors in the not-to-distant future.
"The products that we source today from various suppliers, what if – and it's a what-if question – what if we could buy one, two, five, 10 3D printers and start printing out those products as we need them," Blissett asks, "rather than storing them on our shelf for 30, 40, 60, 90 days?"
It could create some significant channel conflict, he says, or it could create some "exciting opportunities" for changing the manufacturer-distributor relationship.
Hear more from Blissett on disruptive technologies, including drones, robots and SmartMRO, in the latest episode of MDM Executive Briefing. Watch a quick clip below or the full program at www.mdm.com/executivebriefing.
Also in this episode: Tim Gillig, vice president of sales for fluid power distributor Livingston & Haven, talks about the importance of "fun" in company culture and how the company uses video to enhance its sales efforts.