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For the last several years, Lawson Products has been focused on turning its sales trajectory back to the positive through streamlining the organization and focusing on the “legacy” that launched the company. President and CEO Michael DeCata recently spoke with MDM Editor Jenel Stelton-Holtmeier about the initiatives being undertaken by the distributor and the results of those efforts.

DeCata discusses:

  • How the company has changed since he became CEO
  • The impact of the company's Lean Six Sigma implementation
  • Plans for expanding the sales force

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  • A Practical Approach to Lean
  • Lessons Learned on Lean
  • Operations as a ‘Lever for Innovation’

What can baseball and Scotland possibly have to do with each other? More than you might think.

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  • The State of Analytics in Distribution: 2014
  • MDM Interview: Why Analytics is About People, Not IT
  • Making Money with Small Customers

The culture of a company is one key to its success, and changing leadership can create a challenge to developing that successful culture. Joel Trammell, author of The CEO Tightrope, discusses how distribution company executives and leaders can influence company culture to obtain the most useful ideas and criticisms from their workforces.

This article includes:

  • Initial steps for defining a company's vision
  • How to avoid the disconnect between upper management and line-level employees
  • Ways to ensure employees are all on the same page

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  • Redefining Competitive Advantage
  • Bridging the Value Gap
  • Operations as a ‘Lever for Innovation’

Distributors that lack a digital strategy can find themselves falling behind their competitors as e-commerce and other digital platforms become more important to customers. Linda Taddonio of InsiteCommerce discusses the need to develop a digital strategy and ways to jumpstart the development of that strategy in the recent MDM Webcast, Navigating the Digital Landscape for Distribution.

This article includes:

  • Why distributors are facing technology deficits
  • Steps for conducting a digital boot camp
  • How to create a digital innovation team

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4419Cover

This is the PDF of this issue of Modern Distribution Management.

Table of Contents:

  • MDM Interview: Lawson Products' Revitalization
  • Commentary: Scotland, Baseball and Better Sales Models
  • How Leaders Drive Company Culture
  • Overcoming a Technology Deficit
  • U.S. Market Analysis: Janitorial Supplies
  • News Digest

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Predicting profitability of an order by measuring average margin is ineffective. Averages are susceptible to outliers and rarely represent the true value of any individual measure within the set. In this article, the authors examine flaws in conventional thinking about margin and provide practical ways to better manage small orders.

This article includes:

  • Common misconceptions about how to measure customer profitability
  • Better ways to measure the impact of small orders
  • Tips for how to improve profit from small customers

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  • Making Money with Small Customers
  • Measuring the Customer Experience
  • Cost-Effective Channel Alignment

Supply chain optimization is a goal with so many moving parts, it’s sometimes difficult to nail down what places to begin addressing potential changes. In this article, industry experts simplify the options and set the stage for an efficient, long-term process for freight movement.

This article includes:

  • Challenges to mitigating shipping costs
  • The role of technology in improving shipping efficiency
  • How distributors can use shipping to differentiate

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  • Differentiate to Combat Disintermediation
  • 2014 State of Distributor Marketing: Distributor Marketing Shifts to Digital
  • Disasters Can – and Will – Happen

Modern Distribution Management's monthly Industrial Inflation Index measures a cross-section of industrial supplies.

This index includes:

  • Abrasives Products
  • Cutting Tools
  • Power Transmission Equipment
  • Fasteners
  • Valves, etc.
  • Power Tools
  • Material Handling Equipment
  • Belting
  • Hand Tools
  • Misc. Metal

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  • MDM 2Q14 Pricing Trends Report
  • MDM/Baird Survey: Distributors See Measured Growth in 2Q
  • The State of Analytics in Distribution
4418Cover

This is the PDF of this issue of Modern Distribution Management.

Table of Contents:

  • MDM Interview: Stellar Industrial's Strategic Focus
  • Commentary: Analyzing Analytics
  • Making Money with Small Customers: Balancing Margin & Cost
  • Strategic Options for Shipping Efficiency
  • MDM Industrial Inflation Index: August 2014
  • MDM Monthly Wholesale Trade Data: July 2014
  • News Digest

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Earlier this year, Tacoma, WA-based Stellar Industrial Supply announced the addition of Larry Davis, former president of ORS Nasco, to its executive team as executive vice president and chief commercial officer. The move was part of a strategy by Stellar to grow “faster and more effectively.” MDM Publisher Tom Gale recently spoke with Stellar’s executive team, including President & CEO John Wiborg, Executive Vice President & COO Steve Slater and Davis, about the shifts in the market that drove the shift in strategy and where the company is heading.

This article includes:

  • Why Stellar Industrial hired Larry Davis
  • The goals the distributor has for shifting its strategic focus
  • How the move will impact Stellar's customers and partners

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  • Cost-Effective Channel Alignment
  • Who's My Coach? The Changing Role of Sales Managers in Distribution
  • Redwood Plastics: Success through Online Engagement

At this point, it has become pretty well accepted that data should be a part of big decisions.There are many challenges to becoming highly data-driven, though, from technology limitations to information overload. But one common challenge is the tendency to view an indicator or measurement as something that it’s not.

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  • Differentiate to Combat Disintermediation
  • 2014 State of Distributor Marketing: Distributor Marketing Shifts to Digital
  • Disasters Can – and Will – Happen

Disasters touch every sector of the industrial distribution industry every year, costing millions, destroying businesses and affecting the supply chain. Incorporating an emergency preparedness plan can greatly influence the outcome of a disaster, as can the methods undertaken to recover from one.

This article includes:

  • Case studies from two companies that suffered losses from fires
  • Steps to take to initiate an emergency preparedness plan
  • Valuable resources that your company probably already has

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  • Distributor Marketing Shifts to Digital
  • Technology-Driven Value?
  • Construction Drives M&A Activity in August

It’s easy to say distributors are more than middle men in the sales process. They are there to provide product when customers want it, where customers want it and how customers want it, right? But what is the real value distributors provide? Last week, MDM, in partnership with Grant Thornton, hosted a Webcast examining the threat of disintermediation (or the act of cutting distributors out of the sales process). In that event, the question was raised: Has technology changed what we have traditionally thought value to mean?

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  • Differentiate to Combat Disintermediation
  • 2014 State of Distributor Marketing: Distributor Marketing Shifts to Digital
  • Disasters Can – and Will – Happen

A joint MDM-Real Results Marketing survey revealed that while 80 percent of respondents create an annual marketing plan, for most companies, that plan is largely ignored after its creation. This article examines how distributors across sectors approach marketing and what they consider the most effective channels to be.

This article includes:

  • What vehicles distributors are using for marketing – and which are perceived as the most effective
  • How the focus of marketing has shifted for distributors
  • How distributors approach staffing around sales and marketing

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Not a subscriber? Subscribe below or learn more. Subscribers also have access to the following related articles:

  • Cost-Effective Channel Alignment
  • Who's My Coach? The Changing Role of Sales Managers in Distribution
  • Redwood Plastics: Success through Online Engagement
4417Cover

This is the PDF of this issue of Modern Distribution Management.

Table of Contents:

  • 2014 State of Distributor Marketing: Marketing Shifts to Digital
  • Commentary: Technology-Driven Value?
  • Disasters Can – and Will – Happen
  • Sidebar: 3 Steps to Initiate an Emergency Preparedness Plan
  • News Digest

Are you a subscriber? Simply log-in to view this issue.

4416Cover

This is the PDF of this issue of Modern Distribution Management.

Table of Contents:

  • The Changing Role of the Sales Manager
  • Commentary: The Trouble with Rebates
  • Interview: Operations as a 'Lever for Innovation;
  • U.S. Economy: Out of 'Surviving' and on to 'Thriving'
  • MDM Industrial Inflation Index: July 2014
  • Monthly Wholesale Trade Data: June 2014
  • News Digest

Are you a subscriber? Simply log-in to view this issue.

Baby boomers are retiring, and sales managers are recognizing that their current management styles may not be quite as beneficial as they could be. Adopting a strong philosophy and vision for leading a sales team is the first important step to take when shifting a management culture.

This article looks at reasons why the change is happening and what sales managers can and in some cases, should be doing to improve their management styles.

This article includes:

  • Why sales managers should consider being proactive, not reactive
  • Important first steps to take when shifting a management style
  • How technology tools can help (and hurt) the sales team

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  • Commentary: The Trouble with Rebates
  • Interview: Operations as a 'Lever for Innovation'
  • U.S. Economy: Out of 'Surviving' and on to 'Thriving'

Sales and inventories data for wholesaler-distributors in June 2014.

This article includes:

  • Wholesale trade revenues for durable and nondurable goods in June 2014
  • Monthly inventories/sales ratio for the industry
  • Sales & inventory trends for durable and nondurable goods

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Not a subscriber? Subscribe below or learn more. Subscribers also have access to the following articles:

  • 2Q14 MDM-Baird Distribution Survey Results
  • 2Q14 MDM Pricing Trends Report
  • Building on Already Profitable Business

Modern Distribution Management's monthly Industrial Inflation Index measures a cross-section of industrial supplies.

This index includes:

  • Abrasives Products
  • Cutting Tools
  • Power Transmission Equipment
  • Fasteners
  • Valves, etc.
  • Power Tools
  • Material Handling Equipment
  • Belting
  • Hand Tools
  • Misc. Metal

Subscribers should log-in below to read this article.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe below or learn more. Subscribers also have access to the following related articles:

  • MDM 2Q14 Pricing Trends Report
  • MDM/Baird Survey: Distributors See Measured Growth in 2Q
  • The State of Analytics in Distribution

Rebate structures are still driving dysfunctional behavior, making distributors vulnerable. The article addresses how today's rebate structures make individual companies, and in most cases entire channels, more vulnerable in current market conditions.

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Not a subscriber? Subscribe below or learn more. Subscribers also have access to the following related articles:

  • Who's My Coach? The Changing Role of Sales Managers
  • Interview: Operations as a 'Lever for Innovation'
  • U.S. Economy: Out of 'Surviving' and on to 'Thriving'

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