The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

MDM Survey: Distributors’ Top Concerns in 2013

The economy is still a concern, but it's no longer the top concern of many distributors this year.
lindsay-white

MDM has been asking readers about their top business concerns in our annual surveys for several years. Over the past few years, the economy has always topped the list.

The economy continues to be in mind in the latest survey, but it doesn’t appear to be top of mind any longer. Still, the ups and downs and uncertainties lingering from the past year seem to be driving what is top of mind for many wholesale distribution executives in the latest MDM survey: reducing costs and improving profitability.

To that end, many of the respondents said to be successful over the past two years, they’ve streamlined their footprints and increased their focus on pricing. Distributors are also homing in on their net working capital. They are still reluctant to hire, continuing to cross-train key staff to improve productivity.

But while improving efficiency continues to be important, many distributors also say they have invested in new initiatives – something we didn’t hear a lot about just a few years ago when reducing costs overshadowed nearly everything else.

Distributors have invested in technology to improve the way they manage their businesses and to improve customer service. They have added new lines and pursued acquisitions. Website improvements were also frequently cited by respondents as changes made over the past two years. Better data analysis capabilities were also important to many.

Besides the need to reduce costs and improve profits, the other top concerns noted in the survey included:

  • Competition from national companies
  • Making business less complex
  • Better pricing
  • Private label product push
  • The changing role of field sales
  • The integration of acquired companies
  • Channel convergence
  • Diversification
  • Government regulations
  • The cost of health care
  • Finding skilled workers
  • Keeping key employees
  • Meeting training needs
  • The trend toward national agreements
  • Aging workforce
  • Upgrading technology to keep up with the competition
  • Managing inventory levels
  • Supplier relations
  • Trade credit
  • Vendor consolidation
  • Online competition

The 2013 Distribution Trends Report provides more detail on what distributors are thinking about and how they are positioning for the rest of 2013. The report is free to MDM Premium subscribers. Not a subscriber? Subscribe here.

About the Author
Leave a Reply

Leave a Comment

Sign Up for the MDM Update Newsletter

The MDM update newsletter is your best source for news and trends in the wholesale distribution industry.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to MDM’s Privacy Policy.

0

articles left

This is your last free article

Subscribe to MDM Premium today and get:

  • Unlimited access to MDM.com
  • 1 year digital subscription, with new issues twice a month
  • Trends analysis, market data and quarterly economic updates
  • Deals on select store products and events

2

articles left

Want more Premium content from MDM?

Subscribe today and get:

  • New issues twice each month
  • Unlimited access to mdm.com, including 10+ years of archived data
  • Current trends analysis, market data and economic updates
  • Discounts on select store products and events

1

article
left

You have one free article remaining

Subscribe to MDM Premium to get unlimited access. Your subscription includes:

  • Two new issues a month
  • Access to 10+ years of archived data on mdm.com
  • Quarterly economic updates, trends analysis and market data
  • Store and event discounts

To continue reading, you must be an MDM Premium subscriber.