Blog

Distributors in the Digital Era
You Can’t Beat Amazon by Acting Alone-Distributors in the Digital Era #30
You Can’t Beat Amazon by Acting Alone-Distributors in the Digital Era #30

I’m looking for ideas, questions, failures and stories about how distributors might compete in the digital age, defend their turf against disruptors like Amazon and offer customers new, innovative services. If you have any thoughts, please share them with me. My goal is to kick-start an active discussion of ideas among distributors and bring in […]

Chairman's Column 2017
John Tracy-NAW
NAW Chairman’s Column, September 2017: “Technology – Our Friend and Competitor”

I don’t think there is a distributor in the world who doesn’t think that technology is affecting their business and is something they have to address and embrace. I would also suggest that most distributors would say that they must have a specific technology strategy and invest more in this area than ever before, with […]

Distributors in the Digital Era
Is Your Digital Vision Holding You Back?
Is Your Digital Vision Holding You Back?-Distributors in the Digital Era #29

In research conducted for our upcoming research report on digital progress and strategic solutions, we found that a clear majority (more than 70% in our online survey) of distributor CEOs were either confident or very confident in the strength of their digital vision. We are both encouraged and worried by that result. On the plus […]

Distributors in the Digital Era
Developing a New Leadership Mindset
Developing a New Leadership Mindset-Distributors in the Digital Era #28

In our upcoming research report on digital progress and strategic solutions, we gathered insights from more than 100 distributor CEOs. We found that most could talk about their vision for the adoption and use of digital tools by their company, but there was also a dichotomy. Distributor leaders are confident in their digital vision, but […]

Distributors in the Digital Era
Are You Making the Necessary Capability Investments?
Are You Making the Necessary Capability Investments?-Distributors in the Digital Era #27

Across all of our research about getting results from digital investments, one essential requirement for success stands out: Successful use of digital tools requires proactive development of people and process capabilities. Digital tools change the way that work is done, and if a company’s people do not have the necessary knowledge and skills, guided by […]

Intel from NAW Roundtables
Cloud Adoption for Distributors
Cloud Adoption for Distributors

In the past ten to fifteen years, Billion Dollar CIOs have been inundated with white papers, news articles, and discussions around “The Cloud.” Historically, distributors are not the first adopters when it comes to technology. As distribution firms are smack-dab in the middle of the supply chain, they need to evaluate every capital spend carefully […]

Distributors in the Digital Era
Are Digital Tools Making Your Business More Competitive?
Are Digital Tools Making Your Business More Competitive?-Distributors in the Digital Era #26

Adopting and using digital tools are becoming an essential capability for achieving business results. Distributors in the lead have turned the corner on creating an actionable digital vision and are driving improved customer experiences and business profits. Many distributors are making significant investments and learning how digital tools can drive results for their business. Distributor […]

Distributors in the Digital Era
Are You Facing a Crisis of Confidence with Your Suppliers?
Are You Facing a Crisis of Confidence with Your Suppliers?-Distributors in the Digital Era #25

Our ongoing research of distributor CEOs and manufacturers has revealed a troubling disconnect between distributors and their manufacturer partners. Findings are preliminary, but while distributors are confident about the strength of their digital vision, suppliers are not convinced. This “digital divide” is important, because if the value of distributors declines, manufacturers may diminish funds allocated […]

Intel from NAW Roundtables
The Human Capital Issues for CHROs
The Human Capital Issues for CHROs

Over 30,000 people are employed today within the $5.3 trillion distribution industry, and “human capital” is one area that keeps Chief Human Resources Officers (CHRO) up at night. Accomplished CHRO’s manage human capital much like CFOs manage financial capital, by finding and executing the allocation of talent investments that engages talent, drives organizational strategy through […]

Distributors in the Digital Era
What can distributors learn from Amazon’s acquisitions?
What Can Distributors Learn from Amazon’s Acquisitions?-Distributors in the Digital Era #24

Amazon’s intended acquisition of Whole Foods Market has caught the attention of many distributors. Much of the discussion has focused on the changes that Amazon will bring to retail channels and the distributors that serve them, but there may be other implications for all distributors. Acquisitions are common in distributor-intensive value chains, with consolidators buying […]