BRAND-NEW! Driving Profitable Growth: A Distributor’s Playbook to Generate–Manage–Sustain Competitive Advantage

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This research study is published by the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence, a leading publisher of research exclusively for and about the wholesale distribution industry. More>>

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Senthil Gunasekaran

Pradip Krishnadevarajan

F. Barry Lawrence, Ph.D.

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Groundbreaking Research from Barry Lawrence and His Team at Texas A&M

Growth is imperative. Distributors that are not growing are essentially dying in slow motion. Achieving top-line growth is becoming increasingly difficult given today's economic challenges and customer demands. That is why the path to achieving and sustaining profitable growth needs a systematic and dynamic approach.

Driving Profitable Growth: A Distributor's Playbook to Generate–Manage–Sustain Competitive Advantage is the first research study in wholesale distribution to examine both public and private firms and uncover a roadmap that addresses the three dimensions—generating, managing, and sustaining—of profitable growth. At last, distributors have a growth playbook that is based on research and analytics instead of anecdotal information! 

The research combines rigorous analytics that were collected from a decade of financial data with input from wholesaler-distributors from multiple lines of trade. It reflects the current environment and determines the roadmap to the future. This study speaks to the growth planning and execution issues all distributors face in leading and growing their organizations. There is no more important time than right now for distribution management teams to read this study!

Driving Profitable Growth is filled to the brim with

• 95 best practices on growth from actual distributors that are easy to understand and visually depicted on the accompanying maps
• 40 ready-to-implement action steps
• 60 real-world distributor examples
from across the industry!


The two four-color wall maps, which accompany the research study, present a comprehensive collection of four growth frameworks—each vividly presenting the findings in a systematic and easy-to-digest manner:

• Framework 1 focuses on introducing the three key dimensions of growth—generating, managing, and sustaining.
• Framework 2 lists a collection of nine growth strategies and their drivers—leverage, penetrate, broaden, add, reach out, expand, build, innovate, and diversify.
• Framework 3 outlines a list of best practices required to achieve profitability and cash flow while aggressively growing the business.
• Framework 4 presents the set of growth blind spots to avoid in your journey to value creation.


This book is a collaboration of the NAW Institute and Texas A&M, two leaders in wholesale distribution education and training.


What Readers Have to Say

“As usual, Texas A&M did an outstanding job of compiling best practices and strategy in a manner that is useful to the wholesale distribution audience. The Growth consortium findings provide a roadmap that will help our strategy and success in the future. Job well done.”
Aaron Elliott, President, DW Distribution, Inc.

“The Growth findings provide valuable insight and will allow us to benchmark against best practices for strategic growth. The study validates many of our current initiatives, but also illuminates areas to target for improvement. It is well worth the investment of time and resources!”
Bob Dill, President and CEO, HISCO

“The Growth research findings are truly engaging and highly applicable to the functions we perform here at Ryerson on a daily basis. What I like best about this content is how the authors back up all the findings with data gathered from rigorous research and real-world examples. I highly recommend this research study for successful growth planning and execution.”
Eric McGill, General Manager, Ryerson Holding Corporation

“The Growth frameworks provide the ultimate distribution playbook! We will definitely implement key best practices from these frameworks to leverage our growth.”
Kevin Kampe, President, Womack Machine Supply.



Senthil Gunasekaran

Senthil leads research on the wholesale distribution industry at Texas A&M University. With 15 years of experience in distribution and manufacturing, he advises distribution firms, delivers executive education, and speaks at industry forums on topics influencing distributor competitiveness. He is an author of five books on distributor profitability, growth, and analytics, and holds a doctorate degree from Texas A&M.


Pradip Krishnadevarajan

Pradip is the Co-founder of the Global Supply Chain Lab at Texas A&M University. With more than 14 years of experience as an industry advisor, educator, and speaker for wholesale distribution, Pradip helps wholesaler-distributors create strategic and tactical competitive advantage. He is an author of six books on best practices, customer analytics, business transformation, and profitability.


F. Barry Lawrence, Ph.D.

Barry is Director of the Industrial Distribution Program and Founder of the Global Supply Chain Laboratory at Texas A&M University. He is a Fellow of the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence, and an author of eight books on distributor competitiveness. Barry serves as an advisor to the distribution industry on profitability and supply chain management. He is a frequent speaker for distribution associations, buying groups, and companies on a wide range of supply chain topics.

  • Speaking

    NAW Executive Summit, 2009, 2010, 2013

    NAW Large Company CEO/COO Roundtable

    NAW Large Company CFO Roundtable

    NAW Large Company Operations Roundtable