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MDM Special Report: Emerging Technologies in Wholesale Distribution

MDM's Emerging Technologies Series, published in 2011, looked at five key technologies that distributors are adopting to run their businesses better.

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The Growth of Cloud Computing
Software as a service (SaaS) is anticipated to grow 20 percent to $12 billion in revenue this year, according to IT research company Gartner. Yet in an industry with tight margins and a reluctance to invest in new technologies, SaaS, a variation of cloud computing that is the use of Web-based services to support business processes, is viewed with a critical eye among distributors. But as more companies adopt cloud technology for their business, the service is becoming difficult to ignore.

Demand Booms for Pricing Analytics and Tools
Using technology to improve pricing is slowly but surely gaining a strong foothold in the distribution industry. In fact, some experts have gone so far as to say that using technology to optimize pricing may no longer be a differentiator for distributors in five years. Instead, what's called strategic pricing may be expected, much as more advanced inventory management tools are now.

Distributors Embrace Mobile Technology
Over the past two years, a significant shift has taken place in technology, away from the traditional home- or office-based tools to technology that offers portability and accessibility. And while the development of new technologies often takes place at the speed of light, the adoption rate of mobile technologies such as smartphones and tablets has risen at a nearly unheard-of pace.


Business Intelligence Tools Provide Actionable Data
Distributors have questions, and many are looking to business intelligence technology tools to get the answers. Why are customers unprofitable? How can we work more closely with vendors to reduce costs? Why was margin off this quarter? Which salesperson is contributing most to Gross Profit? Least? Data from the past is helping them gain a better understanding of trends to help improve the future.

E-Commerce Evolves for Distributors
Often when e-commerce is mentioned, comes to mind. And while that model is extremely successful in the business-to-consumer market, it's a stretch for some to see how that model can be applied to business-to-business. This article looks at trends in e-commerce and how distributors are approaching the challenges associated with implementing an effective e-commerce strategy.

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