Optimizing Distributor Profitability: Best Practices to a Stronger Bottom Line

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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>>

F. Barry Lawrence, Ph.D.
Senthil Gunasekaran
Pradip Krishnadevarajan

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Have you asked yourself any of these questions?

• Is it possible to achieve the ROI requirement implied by double-digit EBITDA multiples in most acquisitions?
• What are the best practices performed by top-performing firms that differentiate them in terms of profitability/ROI?
• Is there a systematic framework of best-practice implementation that can be adopted by wholesaler-distributors?
• How do best practices enhance shareholder value?
• Where is the link that connects process to profitability?

This perennial best seller answers these questions and more.

There are 47 best practices in Optimizing Distributor Profitability: Best Practices to a Stronger Bottom Line and all were developed from actual experiences of 84 real wholesale distribution firms across our industry. This groundbreaking research study is not academic modeling or theory; it is a powerful weapon for you to use to enhance your shareholder value.

Part 1 presents the basic idea of a wholesale distribution framework and a five-step methodology. Part 2 puts those ideas into action by applying them to each of the seven distributor business functions: Source; Stock; Store; Sell; Ship; Supply Chain Planning; and Support Services. Each chapter presents a real-world example of a wholesaler-distributor that identifies and implements process improvements, and the impact of those improvements on shareholder value. Finally, each chapter concludes by showing exactly how you can apply the ideas and methodology to your firm.

Optimizing Distributor Profitability includes:

• A five-step methodology with clear how-to-implement ideas and tools
• 123 detailed exhibits that walk you through the processes
• 50 action steps that you can implement today and over time
• A Distributor Profitability Framework wall map to help you follow how business processes and financial drivers are linked to enhance  

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

“We are impressed with the material and its potential impact on our profitability. Truly information and education for the times.”

Gary McKillican, President, McKillican International, Inc.

“The information is organized very well, supported by robust research specifically on the distribution industry, presented in an easily digestible manner and linked to real-world examples to help convert concepts into actionable items.”

David A. Larson, Former Vice President–Operations, DW Distribution Inc.

“A picture is worth a thousand words and the Distributor Profitability Framework map is worth a 100,000 words!”

Ron Cedruly, CFO, Henrietta Building Supplies

“The value received from this concept is immeasurable!”

Tim Miller, CEO, Security Contractor Services

“The work product developed and presented is outstanding!”

Gary Bodam, Ph.D., Vice President–HR, Stuart C. Irby Co.

Introduction to Optimizing Distributor Profitability: Best Practices to a Stronger Bottom Line


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


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.