The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

September 10 2012

Grainger Goes Mobile

Volume:

42

Issue:

17

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Features

Grainger wasn’t the first distributor to introduce a mobile app, but the app it recently launched is arguably one of the most robust available on the market. The announcement comes as demand for mobile access to product information, availability and order capabilities continues to increase across industries. This article examines the process behind Grainger’s application development, as well as what’s driving more distributors to go mobile.

Have a question? Check your smartphone. We’re no longer required to wait until we get home or until we can connect our computers to the Internet to get the answer. While this has been a growing trend in our personal lives for years, it is now making a major mark in the B-to-B world.

A number of distributors have developed their own targeted apps.

Platt Electric Supply, for one, developed an app with a store locator and mobile access to your Platt account. HVAC distributor Johnstone Supply created a broader “toolkit,” including a duct-sizer and efficiency savings calculators.

Grainger’s new mobile app, released in August, takes the concept even further – aiming to bring the full functionality of grainger.com to the smartphone.

The Grainger Model
Over the past year, mobile traffic to Grainger’s website has increased 400 percent, …

Strategic alliances between distributors should be aimed at improving business for all participants. But this isn’t always the driver of organizations that enable independent distributors to get together.

“Our experience is that it’s often reactive in nature,” says Brent Grover, principal at Evergreen Consulting LLC and author of The Little Black Book of Strategic Planning for Distributors. Grover recently took part in an “Ask the Author” webcast event with MDM, answering audience questions about his new book, which is available at www.mdm.com/littleblackbook.

In his experience, the frequent focus on national accounts …

In the recent MDM Webcast, Managing for Profit: Five Building Blocks of Success, Jonathan Byrnes, senior MIT lecturer and author of Islands of Profit in a Sea of Red Ink, offers strategies in five key areas that can, when applied together, help managers lead companies to a better bottom line. The webcast, the final in a four-part series on managing for profitability, is available on DVD at www.mdm.com/islands.

Even in leading companies, 30 percent to 40 percent of the business is unprofitable. At the same time, 20 percent to 30 percent is highly profitable, enough to subsidize the loss, according to Jonathan Byrnes, senior MIT lecturer and author of Islands of Profit in a Sea of Red Ink. While many business leaders tend to focus on the unprofitable aspects of their businesses in an attempt to fix what’s broken, Byrnes says companies would do well to focus more on those products and initiatives that contribute to the bottom line.

“If you don’t secure that business, you’re really in trouble,” he says.

In the recent MDM Webcast, Managing for Profit, Byrnes recommends leaders focus on five building blocks that, when executed effectively and simultaneously, can …

More than half of U.S. counties have been designated as natural disaster areas after the worst drought in more than 50 years ravaged crops and pastures this summer. As of Aug. 28, 2012, nearly 53 percent of the country was still in moderate drought or worse, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, released weekly by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Manufacturers and distributors serving these markets will or already have seen an impact as the drought continues to dampen economic activity.

The impacts have been widespread, from cracking …

This table highlights key financial metrics and trading multiples for 28 publicly traded distributors in the industrial and building products industries as of Aug. 20, 2012. Download this data below. Also find graphic illustrating median EBIDTA multiples for the same distribution companies.

These materials, prepared by Robert W. Baird & Co. for MDM, are for informational purposes only.

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Grainger wasn’t the first distributor to introduce a mobile app, but the app it recently launched is arguably one of the most robust available on the market. The announcement comes as demand for mobile access to product information, availability and order capabilities continues to increase across industries. This article examines the process behind Grainger’s application development, as well as what’s driving more distributors to go mobile.

Have a question? Check your smartphone. We’re no longer required to wait until we get home or until we can connect our computers to the Internet to get the answer. While this has been a growing trend in our personal lives for years, it is now making a major mark in the B-to-B world.

A number of distributors have developed their own targeted apps.

Platt Electric Supply, for one, developed an app with a store locator and mobile access to your Platt account. HVAC distributor Johnstone Supply created a broader “toolkit,” including a duct-sizer and efficiency savings calculators.

Grainger’s new mobile app, released in August, takes the concept even further – aiming to bring the full functionality of grainger.com to the smartphone.

The Grainger Model
Over the past year, mobile traffic to Grainger’s website has increased 400 percent, …

Strategic alliances between distributors should be aimed at improving business for all participants. But this isn’t always the driver of organizations that enable independent distributors to get together.

“Our experience is that it’s often reactive in nature,” says Brent Grover, principal at Evergreen Consulting LLC and author of The Little Black Book of Strategic Planning for Distributors. Grover recently took part in an “Ask the Author” webcast event with MDM, answering audience questions about his new book, which is available at www.mdm.com/littleblackbook.

In his experience, the frequent focus on national accounts …

In the recent MDM Webcast, Managing for Profit: Five Building Blocks of Success, Jonathan Byrnes, senior MIT lecturer and author of Islands of Profit in a Sea of Red Ink, offers strategies in five key areas that can, when applied together, help managers lead companies to a better bottom line. The webcast, the final in a four-part series on managing for profitability, is available on DVD at www.mdm.com/islands.

Even in leading companies, 30 percent to 40 percent of the business is unprofitable. At the same time, 20 percent to 30 percent is highly profitable, enough to subsidize the loss, according to Jonathan Byrnes, senior MIT lecturer and author of Islands of Profit in a Sea of Red Ink. While many business leaders tend to focus on the unprofitable aspects of their businesses in an attempt to fix what’s broken, Byrnes says companies would do well to focus more on those products and initiatives that contribute to the bottom line.

“If you don’t secure that business, you’re really in trouble,” he says.

In the recent MDM Webcast, Managing for Profit, Byrnes recommends leaders focus on five building blocks that, when executed effectively and simultaneously, can …

More than half of U.S. counties have been designated as natural disaster areas after the worst drought in more than 50 years ravaged crops and pastures this summer. As of Aug. 28, 2012, nearly 53 percent of the country was still in moderate drought or worse, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, released weekly by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Manufacturers and distributors serving these markets will or already have seen an impact as the drought continues to dampen economic activity.

The impacts have been widespread, from cracking …

This table highlights key financial metrics and trading multiples for 28 publicly traded distributors in the industrial and building products industries as of Aug. 20, 2012. Download this data below. Also find graphic illustrating median EBIDTA multiples for the same distribution companies.

These materials, prepared by Robert W. Baird & Co. for MDM, are for informational purposes only.