Ian Heller’s recent series in Modern Distribution Management focuses on Amazon Business and its impact on industrial distributors. The four-article series concluded on Dec. 25 with a recommended response to the threat of Amazon’s unique capabilities in sourcing, selling, technology and logistics. Whatever your view of Amazon Business, Heller presents four excellent strategies to survive in the ever-changing landscape of industrial distribution.
- Understand the threat to your business by determining how much of your product base requires your expertise, special handling or special knowledge to deliver.
- Leverage your customer relationships to garner a deeper understanding of their buying habits, specifically to what extent they source from the online marketplace. Couple that with analysis of your own sales trends through the years.
- Build a future-facing digital strategy, specifically by enhancing your online capabilities and managing robust product data.
- Define your business model as a value-added service provider.
Heller calls on distributors to collaborate more aggressively with suppliers, other distributors, and software and service providers to retain a competitive advantage. As competition increases, relationships such as those you’ve built in NetPlus are your lifeline, your link to people who share your concerns and challenges and may offer unique insights to solutions.
Don’t neglect the people that are the core of your business. Keep your employees relevant and prepared to succeed through continuing education and training. Read the full MDM piece (subscription required): How Should Distribution Respond to Amazon Business?
How We Grow Together
The purpose of NetPlus Alliance has always been to level the playing field for small to mid-sized industrial/contractor supplies distributors. One way we accomplish this is through access to key suppliers of industrial and contractor supplies. We are ceaselessly working to improve supplier programs to gain the best pricing, terms and rebate benefits possible. We’re also developing new programs, including training support through NetPlus Academy, and a partnership with digital content provider Codifyd.
Together, we can grow despite the challenges our industry is facing. Learn more about NetPlus Alliance’s benefits for distributors and manufacturers.