Distributors are responding to customer concerns and increased demand on staff in a variety of ways, including limiting new business to meet existing customer demand; open communication on shortages and supplier allocations, and discouraging panic by not accepting returns beyond normal usage patterns. Face the crisis with a sense of flexibility and resilience, experts say.
In a time when optimism and clarity are hard to come by, I’m moved by how the fundamental value of distribution is in the right place, at the right time. At one level it’s about moving product, but it’s much deeper than that – distributors keep the economy running.
After helping to carry several product lines through three consecutive record sales years, 28-year-old Ryan Boyd is tasked with running a team of trainers to build and scale the company’s internal training tactics, including e-learning and in-person programs.
Known for his engaged and strategic perspective and strong leadership qualities, the 37-year-old Florian Ostendarp is leading the charge to automate as many processes as possible for the distribution company. Already about 80% of purchase orders are automatically processed and 67% of order confirmations are completely electronic.
The 43-year-old Mike Butler prioritizes continual learning and growth and is focused on streamlining the distributor’s contract tool program down from more than 300 options to a select few that work best for specific industries and applications.
Through his AI-driven company proton.ai, 23-year-old Benj Cohen is creating digital capabilities targeted specifically for the needs of the distribution market with the goal of enabling reps to make more orders — not just take them.
This is the PDF of this issue of Modern Distribution Management.
What poses the greatest threat to the master distributor model? Ask two of the master distributors featured in the latest issue of MDM Premium and they will share a similar response. Driven by factors such as increasing consolidation and the emergence of e-commerce marketplaces, homogenization and commoditization threaten to strip away the uniqueness of individual master distributors, disrupting their ability to invest in customer service and brand differentiation. Of course, master distributors don’t operate in a vacuum. The same issues they face are felt by the distributors they serve. That theme is reflected throughout this issue of MDM Premium. Our other two features — a Q&A with Cook & Boardman CEO Darrin Anderson and a feature on five emerging job roles in distribution — provide insight on specific actions distributors are taking to keep up with the pace of overall industry transformation.
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