Improving the profitability of your digital presence is a hot topic with distributors. Today we’re asking Curtis Alexander - a digital marketing consultant and one of the speakers at the Distribution and Manufacturing Profitability Forum - some of the most burning questions we hear from you regarding online growth.
There are three areas that distributors need to consider when hiring and training their salesforce: company culture, educational opportunities, and keeping salespeople engaged.
The world has established that industrial distributors need an online ecommerce presence. So what if you have taken that step and created an ecommerce platform for your business, but your salespeople are pushing back against it? What do you do then?
The role of the sales rep has changed. Industrial Distribution's associate editor, Abbigail Kriebs, chatted with three sales experts on the topic, and here is what they had to say.
Survivability in the manufacturing industry is at an all-time high, but still faces some roadblocks. An independent review of EPA regulations examines the disparity between EPA projections and the industry’s more realistic concerns about future profits, job loss, and taxes.
From which direction does your definition of value flow — from you to the customer, or from the customer to you? This is another way of saying: Through which lens do you view what you sell — your lens, or the customer’s lens? Do you see your product or services as value-added or value-received?
For most of their history, automated vending machines focused primarily on giving retail consumers quick access to products. Only recently have they merged with inventory tracking software to create more powerful and effective inventory control systems.
Application-specific reels are a simple solution that can make a big impact on a plant floor or jobsite. Any facility that wants to cut down on purchasing new hoses on a regular basis or work to eliminate accidents that involve tripping should take a step back and evaluate how well they are containing their hoses and cables.
Substitutions are often necessary on plant floors. Swapping out a hex nut for a square nut in a pinch is usually no big deal, but the same cannot be said of swapping out bearings. Bearings demand attention and accuracy. Luckily, the more technologically advanced the industry becomes, the better the solutions are and the more accurate manufacturers – and distributors – can be.
With all these changes and advancements, the thing I see at many distributors that concerns me are the untrained and inexperienced employees who are being put in positions of responsibility and the revolving door of position tenure. We have huge distributor customers who change product managers as often as I change my socks!
Without a doubt, reductions in force (RIF) confront business owners and managers with having to make some of the most difficult decisions they might ever have to face. While one may dread the unfortunate effects of a RIF on one’s employees, their spouses and families, such effects can be the least of the challenges, as RIFs are laden with legal pitfalls as well.
Industrial companies are at a crossroads. Global competition, domestic cost pressures, and the need to service customers faster and more effectively all serve as critical reasons manufacturers and distributors must innovate with profitability in mind — especially in an era where margins are tighter than ever.
Running a successful business is fantastic. However, with success comes other issues like how to manage taxes. Many are aware of “qualified plans” or programs like 401(k) and Defined Benefit plans, which allow the sponsoring employer (you) to current income tax deductions for Plan contributions, tax deferred growth on Plan assets, asset protection under ERISA, and the ability to roll your account, income tax free, to your IRA.
When I walk into the restaurant, I’m always greeted with a warm good morning, my coffee is poured, and my order quickly entered. The food is good, the service is excellent, but its price is higher than the “new” diner located only a few streets away. Yet I choose to go to “my” restaurant, primarily because of the relationships I have developed.
Now that some time has passed since Amazon made an aggressive play for the industrial B2B space with AmazonSupply, are industrial distributors any more clear on how they should be positioned to compete?
In a blend of new and old school, Turtle & Hughes brings core competencies in several product categories to its integrated supply platform, creating a strategic advantage for its customers. Yet this aggressively competitive approach is all wrapped up in a homegrown, ESOP company where it’s not uncommon for an employee to spend a career.
“For years we’ve been using mailing machines to invoice our accounts,” noted Mike Anderson, President of S.W. Anderson. “Every time our equipment broke down, the problems just got bigger."
As one of the largest industrial distributors in North America, HD Supply oversees product inventories of more than one million SKUs. As the company grew their SKU count and supplier base, tracking began to get increasingly complex and emails more difficult to manage.
OSHA recently revised its Hazard Communication standard to adopt the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). To help organizations navigate HazCom requirements, Cintas Corporation debunks six popular HazCom/GHS myths.
The challenge for the fourth Industrial Revolution is the development of software and analytical systems that turn the deluge of data produced by intelligent factories into useful and valuable information, said Mark Watson, associate director for industrial automation at IHS.