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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.

Premium Monthly

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.

In the recent MDM-Baird Distribution Survey, we asked readers how satisfied they are that their current sales compensation plans support their business objectives. More than 60 percent responded that they are very or pretty satisfied (ranking of 6-10 on a scale of 10) that their plans aligned with their business objectives. (Full results are presented in graphics throughout this article.)

About a third responded with a rank of 5 or below, implying that they are somewhat or very unsatisfied with the performance of their current sales compensation plans.

“They are working into a headwind, because their sales compensation plan is not supportive of what they are trying to do at a company level,” said Mike Emerson, co-author of the new book from the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, Effective Sales Incentive Design for Distributors: What’s the Right Plan?

Editor Lindsay Konzak spoke with Emerson about the book, what distributors need to do before embarking on a redesign of their sale compensation plans, what the most common challenges are when doing so and how distributors can take steps in the early stages to ensure a smoother transition to a new compensation plan...

 

Al Bates, president of Profit Planning Group, is arguably the preeminent expert on profitability in wholesale distribution companies. For decades his company has performed annual statistical programs, profitability studies and industry benchmarking for many associations (PAR reports) and companies.

He coined a phrase a few years back that seems especially appropriate in the erratic economy we are in today – the cost of goods not sold.

It’s a great term that describes so well the core growth issues every distributor faces now. Some months are great, others are flat. Even in the sectors where growth has been strong, most don’t ... 

Uncertainty is dominating the economic discussion in the U.S. and around the globe. Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers and a board member for the National Association for Business Economics, recently spoke with MDM about the factors behind the uncertainty and what needs to be done to address the challenges. The entire interview with Moutray can be heard or downloaded at mdm.com/executivebriefing.

While the U.S. has technically been in recovery since 2009, “most Americans wouldn’t know it,” says Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers. Slow to near-stagnant growth coupled with anxiety and uncertainty about the future have led to an economy that appears to be “stuck in neutral.”

“If you ask manufacturers about how they’re doing, personally, their companies, many of them will tell you that their overall outlook is OK,” Moutray says. In NAM’s quarterly survey with IndustryWeek, 80 percent of manufacturer respondents said they were either “somewhat” or “very” positive about their companies’ outlook.

But tax policy and the overall regulatory environment continue to ...

Several surveys were released over the past couple of weeks that highlight issues that are challenging businesses in today’s economic environment, including health benefits costs, employee morale and the cost of travel. MDM summarizes these surveys below.

Small Business Confidence
Small businesses are seeing modest but steady improvement despite persistent uncertainty in the economy, according to Capital One’s second quarter 2012 Small Business Barometer.

On the hiring front, the survey found a two-year high in the percentage of small businesses (defined as $10 million or below) planning to add jobs over the next six months, with 37 percent planning to hire. The majority of small businesses report that their business financials have remained stable or improved, with 44 percent reporting improved financial position compared to one year ago. However, small business perceptions regarding local economic conditions remain relatively unchanged and the ...


November U.S. manufacturing technology consumption totaled $335.02 million, according to AMTDA, the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association, and AMT - The Association for Manufacturing Technology.


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This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTC program, was down 12.3% from October, but up 32.7% from the total of $252.38 million reported for November 2005. With a year-to-date total of $3,549.90 million, 2006 was up 29.4% compared with 2005.


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


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Though below the exceptional September peak, the November results continue to show strong purchases of advanced ...

Hype and speculation tend to follow an industry consolidator. The announcement last week that Home Depot CEO Bob Nardelli was ousted from his position over pay issues and lagging stock gains generated an inordinate amount of buzz. Some even claimed it is a repudiation of the Home Depot model itself and its relatively recent strategy to aggressively grow the wholesale distribution division.


Hardly. All we know versus a week ago is that HD has $210 million less to fund acquisition activities that instead went to Mr. Nardelli's severance package (Wouldn't you like to be chastised like that?). Now that will really slow the acquisition pace of HD Supply….


What's lost in the shock value of the pay deal is that Home Depot's net income in the most recent quarter, ended ...

Prices for manufactured goods in Canada remained unchanged for a second consecutive month in November, while prices for raw materials increased after three months of significant declines.


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Prices charged by manufacturers, as measured by the Industrial Product Price Index (IPPI), were unchanged from October to November, as downward pressure from declining petroleum prices eased. Lower prices for primary metal products and petroleum products were offset by higher prices for chemical products, fruit, vegetables and feed products and pulp and paper products.


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The 12-month change in the IPPI was up&nbsp ; 1.9%, a higher rate of growth compared to the year-over-year increase of&nbsp ; 1.2% in October. Upward pressure came mainly from higher ...

Construction spending during November 2006 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,184.1 billion, 0.2 percent below the revised October estimate of $1,186.7 billion. The November figure is 0.1 percent above the November 2005 estimate of $1,183.1 billion.


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During the first 11 months of this year, construction spending amounted to $1,110.5 billion, 5.4 percent above the $1,053.4 billion for the same period in 2005.


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Private Construction


Spending on private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $905.8 billion, 0.6 percent below the revised October estimate of $911.0 billion. Residential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $589.3 billion in November, 1.6 percent ...

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in December following a one-month decline, while the overall economy grew for the 62nd consecutive month, say the nation's supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.


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ISM reported that manufacturing proved resilient in December, as the PMI returned to growth registering 51.4 percent after a decline (under 50 percent) in November. Both New Orders and Production made significant gains to drive the PMI back above the breakeven point. Manufacturing employment remained relatively unchanged as the Employment Index shows a negligible change for the second consecutive month.


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The Prices Index is trending downward, relieving some of the inflationary pressure that ...

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