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The U.S. wholesale distribution's sector's overall revenue outlook for 2024 moved more aligned with its historical growth average, with an even better 2025 to follow.

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This new-look issue offers research on suppliers’ changing purchase minimums, distributors’ (lack of) AI progress and geopolitical impacts; and updates on Ferguson, Home Depot-SRS Distribution and more.
This issue compares AI adoption rates in manufacturing vs. distribution; explores Grainger’s role as a ‘Problem-Solver’; examines Border States’ acquisition path; and shares takeaways from the MODEX expo.

Market Insight Reports

See our in-depth M&A articles from the first three months of 2024, including the Home Depot-SRS blockbuster; the acquisition strategy for Ferguson and Border States; and the latest EBITDA trading multiples.
Find a wealth of data and analysis extracted from the 1Q24 Baird-MDM Industrial Distribution Survey, including trending charts and figures for revenue and expectations, plus plenty of interesting commentary.
The report features in-depth articles that recap the year that was 2023 in distribution dealmaking, a full rundown of every deal we covered in October-December, the latest EBITDA trading multiples and more.
Find a wealth of data and analysis extracted from the 3Q23 Baird-MDM Industrial Distribution Survey, including trending charts and figures for revenue and expectations, plus plenty of interesting commentary.
Find a wealth of data and analysis extracted from the 3Q23 Baird-MDM Industrial Distribution Survey, including trending charts and figures for revenue and expectations, plus plenty of interesting commentary.

Industrial production decreased 0.2 percent in March after an increase of 0.8 percent in February. Output in the manufacturing sector moved up 0.7 percent in March; the increase was led by advances in the production of durable goods.
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The output of utilities dropped 7.0 percent, largely reversing its February jump of 7.6 percent, as temperatures swung from below seasonal norms in February to above seasonal norms in March.
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Mining output edged up 0.1 percent in March. At 112.5 percent of its 2002 average, overall industrial production for March was 2.3 percent above its year-earlier level.
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The rate of capacity utilization for total industry fell 0.2 percentage point, to 81.4 percent, a level 0.4 percentage point above its 1972-2006 ...

Following a lackluster start to the year, wholesaling activity in Canada picked up in February with higher sales of food and personal and household products accounting for much of the increase.
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Wholesale sales rose by&nbsp ; 0.8% to&nbsp ; $43.0&nbsp ; billion in February, reversing all of the&nbsp ; 0.7% decline posted in January. The most significant increase came in the personal and household goods sector (+4.0%), which resumed its upward momentum after a significant drop in January. The food, beverages and tobacco products sector also had a solid month (+2.4%), as did the automotive products (+1.9%) sector.
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These gains were partially offset by declines in the building materials (-2.2%) and other products" (-1.5%) sectors.
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Wholesalers in ...
After a four-month decline in U.S. distributors'sales of Power Transmission/Motion Control products at the end of 2006, this year's sales continued to show positive growth with a 9.3 percent jump in sales for February, according to the most recent trend data report from the Power Transmission Distributors Association.
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When matched up against February 2006 sales, sales in February 2007 were up 8.8 percent. Accounts receivable collection days were up 0.5 percent in February after a steep decline the previous month; accounts receivable collection days were up 1.5 percent compared to the same period last year.
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Following a drop in December 2006 sales, Canadian distributors'sales in PT/MC products posted its second consecutive month of gains, rising 8.5 percent ...
A few follow-up thoughts on the global industrial products trade fair in Hannover, Germany last week. I came away with two very distinct, very different thoughts about what is happening in industrial markets, how customers are sourcing, and the impact on distributors.
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First the mind-boggling news. Some end-user customers and distributors I interviewed there were looking for the next source of product beyond China. Why? China pricing will be too expensive in a year or two. It's hard to exaggerate how many times I had to process that thought: China pricing is too high& hellip; "
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Of course, it is no surprise except for the speed at which the search for the next lowest-price source of product is happening. India, Turkey and other low labor-cost countries are in ...
This article is available to non-subscribers through online access below, or by purchasing the series, Changing Channels, in the MDM Store.

As reported in Part 1, tension between manufacturers and distributors has always been there -but the reasons for that tension have changed. Channel partners are navigating a new frontier that includes private-label branding, converging channels, pricing conflicts, the push of big-box retailers and national accounts into their back yards, and a changing customer base. In Part 2 of this article, we address best practices in manufacturer-distributor relationships.

One answer to manufacturer-distributor conflicts, MDM found in interviews for this article, is that distributors must focus on creating value for the customer and the supplier by homing in on core competencies. And manufacturers must find a balance of trade between high-volume distributors, integrated ...


These 16 select product groups provide a snapshot of inflation trends. First quarter 2006 is compared with first quarter 2007, and the fourth quarter 2006 with the first quarter 2007.

Metals & Metal Products
Plumbing Fixtures & Fittings
Fasteners
Hardware
Hand & Edge Tools

Chemicals & Allied Products
Adhesives & Sealants
Industrial Gases

Machinery & Equipment
Mechanical Power Transmission Equipment
Pumps, Compressors & Equipment
Electrical Machinery & Equipment
Ball and Roller Bearings
Metal Valves, Except Fluid Power
Industrial Material Handling Equipment
Fluid Power Equipment
Welding Machines & Equipment
Cutting ...

Channel dynamics, as our lead article explores, have arguably never been more complex or more fluid. One of the core concepts as this article came together was the need to have a clear line of visibility from manufacturer to end-user customer. With so many variables at play, visibility seems to be one of the few constants.


Channel conflict appears when clarity disappears, whether in communication, policies, discount structures or behaviors. There is no right answer, yet there are great examples of consistent and clear approaches that are working.


Ten years ago, the hot issue was how integrated supply was radically altering traditional channel relationships. Power was shifting to the customer. The redundancies and inefficiencies of traditional channels were ripe for ...

Modern Distribution Management's March Inflation Index, which measures a cross-section of industrial supplies, was up 0.07% from the previous month, and up 2.88% from March 2006.


Summary of&nbsp ; MDM Inflation Index for the past 12 months:


March 2007 Index 269.6
February 2007 Index 269.4
January 2007 Index 268.7
December 2006 Index&nbsp ; 267.1
November 2006 Index 266.5
October 2006 Index 265.9
September 2006 Index 265.6
August 2006 Index 265.2
July 2006 Index 264.0
June 2006 Index 263.0
May 2006 Index 262.1
April 2006 Index 262.1
March 2006 Index 262.1


Please click below to view a print-ready pdf of the&nbsp ; MDM Inflation Index for March 2007, listing the ten individual product categories ...


Tuesday, April 17. I'm finishing my second day at the Hannover Fair in Hannover, Germany. In its 60th year, it is a collection of 13 industrial trade fairs at one site. The scale and scope of this global event is amazing, humbling and exhausting. That's from someone who sometimes feels like half of life is spent at trade shows and conferences. Manufacturers, distributors and customers may in fact be consolidating, but this week is proof that the world of industrial products remains extremely fragmented. First impressions: I did not know there were so many manufacturers of electric motors, bearings, seals, and a long list of other products. The robotics and factory automation systems on display are simply incredible in terms of the combination of software with a range of ...
The Producer Price Index for Finished Goods increased 1.0 percent in March, seasonally adjusted, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported. This advance followed a 1.3 percent rise in February and a 0.6-percent decrease in January. The index for finished goods excluding foods and energy, or core inflation, was unchanged in March after moving up 0.4 percent in February.
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At the earlier stages of processing, prices received by producers of intermediate goods increased 1.0 percent in March following a 1.1-percent advance a month earlier, and the crude goods index rose 3.2 percent after climbing 8.9 percent in February.
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Among finished goods, the index for consumer goods less foods and energy edged up 0.1 percent in March following a ...
February U.S. manufacturing technology consumption totaled $268.37 million, according to the Association for Manufacturing Technology and the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association. This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTC program, was down 9.7% from January, and down 6.3% from the total of $286.29 million reported for February 2006. With a year-to-date total of $565.54 million, 2007 was up 9.4% compared with 2006.


These numbers and all data in this report are based on the totals of actual data reported by companies participating in the USMTC program.

The first two months of the year fit the forecast pattern of slower growth in 2007," said John B. Byrd III, AMT President. "The strength of U.S. manufacturing activity is likely to ...

Sales. The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that February 2007 sales of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers'sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations and trading-day differences but not for price changes, were $340.8 billion, up 1.2 percent (+/-0.5%) from the revised January level and were up 7.1 percent (+/-1.2%) from the February 2006 level. The January preliminary estimate was revised downward $0.5 billion or 0.1 percent. February sales of durable goods were down 0.8 percent (+/-1.0%) ...

Our cover story this week in Modern Distribution Management on channel management has been a fascinating subject to research. There are some significant role shifts taking place. We gained a lot of input from innovators in manufacturing and distribution, including many more beyond those quoted in article.
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It was also a difficult topic to get beyond the generalizations, stereotypes and misperceptions that in fact too often form the basis for relationships and ultimately policies in many companies. For some people, channel management is an oxymoron, because they are using the same pricing and marketing formulas in place 10 or 20 years ago. But we found others who are finding some good ...
Changing-Channels
This article is available to non-subscribers through online access below, or by purchasing the series, Changing Channels, in the MDM Store.

While the basic concepts for effective channel management haven't changed, new competitive pressures have changed the focus to channel profitability. Here's an analysis of the key shifts taking place in independent distribution channels. Part 2 of this article will outline manufacturer-distributor emerging best practices in channel management.

Relationships between manufacturers and distributors have been a topic of conversation at conventions for decades. The tension has always been there," says Marshall Jones, a past president of the Specialty Tool and Fastener Distributors Association. "But the sources of that tension have changed.

Distributors and manufacturers are navigating uncharted territory and areas that until now maintained some ...

Tighter global monetary policies, the unwinding of investment excesses, and the moderation that tends to accompany maturing expansions all point to an imminent period of slower growth for the global economy, according to a new quarterly report.

In the MAPI Quarterly Forecast of U.S. Exports, Global Growth, and the Dollar: Second Quarter 2007 Through Fourth Quarter 2008, economist Cliff Waldman concludes that the impact of the housing downturn in the United States and the near-term path of the embryonic investment slowdown in China are the two key variables that will determine the strength and stability of the world economy during 2007 and 2008.&nbsp ;

Financial markets have been nervous about the U.S. and Chinese outlook," he writes, "but most indications ...


Sales. February 2007 sales of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers'sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations and trading-day differences but not for price changes, were $340.8 billion, up 1.2 percent from the revised January level and were up 7.1 percent from the February 2006 level. February sales of durable goods were down 0.8 percent from last month, but were up 4.4 percent from a year ago. Compared to last month, sales of lumber and other construction materials were down 3.0 percent and sales of electrical goods decreased 1.8 percent. February sales of nondurable goods were up 3.2 percent from last month and were up 9.8 percent from last year. Compared to last month, sales of petroleum and petroleum products increased 8.8 percent ...

Channel management is a slippery subject. The most jaded observers might argue the term has largely become an oxymoron, as stories of mismanagement and dysfunctional practices seem like commodities.


But as the lead article in this issue outlines, distributors and manufacturers are finding ways to leverage the current shifts in markets to focus and define their value. Channel participants are grappling with many complex issues -converging channels, private label brands, new product programs, new discount models.


The key emphasis today is active management. One size can't fit all. Those who gain some understanding of how customers are shifting in their sourcing needs and problems, and then build programs and policies to meet those needs, find a competitive differentiator ...

Modern Distribution Management's February Inflation Index, which measures a cross-section of industrial supplies, was up 0.29% from the previous month, and up 3.27% from February 2006.


Summary of&nbsp ; MDM Inflation Index for the past 12 months:


February 2007 Index 269.4
January 2007 Index 268.7
December 2006 Index&nbsp ; 267.1
November 2006 Index 266.5
October 2006 Index 265.9
September 2006 Index 265.6
August 2006 Index 265.2
July 2006 Index 264.0
June 2006 Index 263.0
May 2006 Index 262.1
April 2006 Index 262.1
March 2006 Index 262.1
February 2006 Index 261.2


Please click below on Related Document to view a print-ready pdf of the&nbsp ; MDM Inflation Index for February 2007, ...

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