10 Trends to Consider When Planning in 2012 - Modern Distribution Management

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10 Trends to Consider When Planning in 2012

Top distributor concerns include economic uncertainty and talent recruitment and retention.

Distributors have a lot on their mind. This year, based on discussions with distributors and manufacturers, as well as the 2011 MDM Reader Survey, we identified 10 areas to watch as you plan for 2012 and beyond. Read in detail about these trends and concerns in the latest issue of MDM Premium.

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Here are the top trends and key concerns for 2012:

  1. Global economic conditions fueling uncertainty in North America.
  2. A growing focus on recruiting and retaining the right people.
  3. Diversification taking a front seat in planning – both in end-markets and product groups.
  4. A growing desire to keep up with and use technology strategically.
  5. Ongoing focus on inventory management best practices.
  6. Ongoing attention to optimizing pricing practices for profitability.
  7. Consolidation.
  8. Increased channel collaboration, both with manufacturers and non-competing distributors.
  9. Growing competition with nontraditional competitors, such as amazon.com
  10. Political gridlock in Washington adding to uncertainty that is dominating the business environment.

Distributors and manufacturers that sell through independent distribution channels continue to make changes to their businesses to capitalize on these trends. In the 2011 MDM Reader Survey, readers said they are expanding the breadth and depth of their inventory, as well as looking for new opportunities to grow. Many mentioned ongoing cost reductions and a dedication to lean principles in their organization.

Some are focused more on being more strategic about sales and marketing, focusing on profitability by account and territory and utilizing business intelligence tools more effectively.

E-commerce is also an area of focus for many, as is social media. Investing in training also continues to be a top response to today’s market conditions.

Read: 10 Trends Affecting Distributors in 2012

What changes are you making to adapt to conditions in today’s markets? Comment below.

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