The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Commentary: Five Things to Be Thankful For

When it rains, it pours. Sometimes it sleets and snows, as well. With weather before Christmas hurting retail traffic in an already slow year, bad news is flowing freely.
 
Many manufacturers and distributors are making tough decisions as the New Year approaches. But it's important to keep a healthy perspective, manage what you can control, and focus on the future. With that in mind, it seems appropriate to end this year with a few thoughts of what we have to look forward to in the many niche distribution markets that make this industry strong, flexible and resilient. Let us hope and work to grow in the next few quarters!
 
Demand will build. Even as we hear continued dismal monthly reports on housing starts and car sales, demand is in fact starting to ...

When it rains, it pours. Sometimes it sleets and snows, as well. With weather before Christmas hurting retail traffic in an already slow year, bad news is flowing freely.
 
Many manufacturers and distributors are making tough decisions as the New Year approaches. But it’s important to keep a healthy perspective, manage what you can control, and focus on the future. With that in mind, it seems appropriate to end this year with a few thoughts of what we have to look forward to in the many niche distribution markets that make this industry strong, flexible and resilient. Let us hope and work to grow in the next few quarters!
 
Demand will build. Even as we hear continued dismal monthly reports on housing starts and car sales, demand is in fact starting to develop. It won’t look like it used to as buying habits and demographics change, but markets will rebound, and already there are new industry sectors rising out of the ashes, such as alternative energy and low-energy product manufacturing.
 
New markets are born. Manufacturing is returning to this continent after the offshore exodus ten years ago. Security, reliability of shorter supply chains, labor cost differentials, fuel costs -all these factors are combining to make manufacturing in North America more cost-competitive than even a few short years ago. (Government bailout of non-competitive manufacturing and labor agreements can only delay a return to competitiveness, but this column is determined to remain positive and won’t go there.)
 
Adversity creates opportunity. Some dismiss this as a cliché. Others use it to grow their business. People and companies focus more on what is truly important in times of crisis and stress. It’s a perfect time to evaluate how to streamline and improve internal operations, as well as how to increase your value with customers and suppliers.
 
Your rules are better. This is slightly different than the last point. Customers and suppliers are most open to trying new approaches when they are forced to. Product lines or accounts that seemed off-limits may be in play for those who can provide an innovative way to cut costs, increase productivity or grow market share. This is a time to sell why your company is better than the competition.
 
Finally, thank you for your business in 2008. With your support we have been able to broaden our coverage and educational offerings. In 2009, we plan to bring you even better analysis as we invest more in our research capabilities and reporting of critical issues facing wholesale distribution executives.

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