From the NAW Blog

Distributors are a strategic go-to-market asset for manufacturers and many are stepping up to reinvent the traditional distribution business model for the digital age. My recent conversations with manufacturers indicate that many suppliers have not noticed and very few have actively engaged with even their most influential distributor partners. The partnership between distributors and manufacturers remains as crucial as ever, but it will die without proactive collaboration around emerging innovation opportunities.

Read More

From the NAW Blog

The United States is entering a new phase of crisis management. For the first time in weeks, restrictions are easing instead of intensifying. The economy is reopening. And for distributors, that means the biggest changes are yet to come.

Read More

From the NAW Blog

“Technology is capable of doing great things. But it doesn’t want to do great things. It doesn’t want anything. That part takes all of us.” — Tim Cook, CEO, Apple

Read More

From the NAW Blog

Distributors may avoid outsider disruption by being human, but only if they make concrete plans to work with customers where they live and work — in communities. A new mindset is required. Segmenting customers is about selling. Serving communities is about collaborating. Relationships are built on trust, and at its core, building trust is a very human endeavor. As distributors transform digitally, they risk losing touch with customers. A distributor’s innovation plan needs to include human-centric innovations, and community outreach is the most powerful place to start.

Read More

From the NAW Blog

The conduct of business will change as the coronavirus crisis recedes, but it’s too early to know the new normal with certainty. Just as first reporting in any emergency often proves to be inaccurate and wrong, so too may early predictions about a new normal for doing business miss the mark.

Read More

From the NAW Blog

Many distributors have been doing things the same way for years. In some cases, what worked then still works now. Yet, part of preparing for the future is preparing for the unexpected — whether that is economic volatility or other industry disruption, such as the coronavirus.

Read More

From the NAW Blog

As distributors imagine business after the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a growing consensus that the crisis will lock in a trend toward customer preferences for virtual experiences. While a sustained shift in buying habits is very likely, that outcome does not reflect the full impact on the future of business. Yes, social distancing has forced remote working and online ordering. However, the crisis also reveals that we are all members of cherished communities, and the path forward is about people working with people to solve problems.

Read More

From the NAW Blog

The defining characteristic of a crisis is uncertainty. First-line managers are a powerful force for surviving a crisis, but only if leaders help them embrace a new role. Every employee wonders how long the crisis will last, which work is most important and if their job is secure. Leaders don’t have all the answers, and employees know it. The role of first-line managers shifts from directing activities that drive performance to gathering ideas that may help the company survive.

Read More

From the NAW Blog

The hard truth about the Coronavirus is that extreme, unexpected events are becoming an essential new requirement of effective supply chain planning. In the current crisis, distributors are doing the crucial work of delivering critical products to essential businesses. As the virus peaks, distributors will play a leading role in rebooting our economy. As industries recover, a new normal will set it. It will be one where customers judge supply chain performance not only on efficiency, but on the ability to predict and mitigate risk.

Read More

From the NAW Blog

With modern organizations moving away from the traditional hierarchical structure to embracing more project-based operations, working in teams is no longer an alternative choice for employees, but an essential consideration to ensure successful business outcomes. In this article, we’ll look at the five key components that affect team effectiveness, and what types of people you need to bring on board your team.

Read More

From the NAW Blog:

In 2015, researchers at Forrester estimated that B2B e-commerce would reach $1 trillion by 2020. They were wrong: B2B e-commerce topped $1 trillion two years ahead of schedule. The industry is changing quickly, and distributors rarely get the chance to step back and plan for the future. In this first post of 2020, I’ll review the biggest development of the last few years and offer a cutting-edge strategy that distributors can use to dominate in the next decade.

Read More

From the NAW Blog:

Our research for NAW’s just-released Innovate to Dominate, The 12 Edition in The Facing the Forces of Change® Series revealed a powerful new opportunity for distributors — the future of business is up for grabs! There is a race to leverage technology and human-centric forces of change to help business customers reinvent how work is done and how individuals and organizations learn.

Read More

From the NAW Blog:

It’s 2019 and more than 197 million people visit Amazon each month to browse more than 12 million products, according to BigCommerce. The numbers go up every day. But distributors don’t need to be afraid of Amazon. They need to innovate and sell to customers the way today’s customers want to buy. It’s that simple.

Read More

From the NAW Blog:

This blog post is for the sons and daughters of distributors; it is food for thought for your Thanksgiving gatherings! Please help this go viral by sharing it on social media or any way you can! Use our hashtags #b2binnovation #innovatetodominate #distributorsrock

Read More

Washington, DC (October 21, 2019) — Wholesaler-distributors are invited to join the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence and our sponsor PROS on Thursday, November 14, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET, for a live webinar: “Welcome to the Age of B2B Innovation.”

Anyone who has a calendar conflict and won’t be able to attend this live webinar, should register anyway. PROS will send registrants a link to view the webinar on demand. Register here.

Read More

From the NAW Blog:

Many distributors have initiatives aimed at developing high-potential employees. However, identifying the employees with high potential (HiPo) can be challenging and is highly subjective. This is partially because different organizations may define high potentials differently. As a result, the characteristics and abilities that an employee must possess to be classified as a “HiPo” is largely up to individual interpretation. How can your HiPo program truly benefit your company and your employees?

Read More

From the NAW Blog: 

In a recent Forbes article, “Moving Beyond On-Demand To The Real-Time Economy,” Kyle Jackson predicts, “In the near future, we’ll see the demand for instant gratification and access to information intensify even more. On-demand is no longer just a gimmick; it’s a reality. As the dust settles on these changes, a new real-time economy will emerge.” This prediction is consistent with our work for Innovate to Dominate: The 12th Edition in the Facing the Forces of Change® Series, arriving in mid-November, and the Forbes article is an essential read for innovation-minded distributors — especially since Jackson highlights a connection between data, artificial intelligence and trust.

Read More

From the NAW Blog:

A recent article in MIT Sloan Management Review, “Grow Faster by Changing Your Innovation Narrative,” provides essential insights for distributors around culture and innovation, starting with an insightful definition. Innovation narratives are what a company’s employees believe about a company’s ability to innovate. It turns out that four levers are most often used by innovation leaders to drive growth and stay ahead of competitors. We share the four levers below, followed by insights from our ongoing Facing the Forces of Change research. Our goal is to provide insights to help distributors get started on improving their innovation narrative, and the entire article is an essential read for developing fully actionable plans.

Read More

We are saddened to learn of the passing of Jim Pokracki on April 19, 2019.

Jim Pokracki had been the owner of Construction Tool & Threading Company since the early 1990s and previously worked for Sullivan Bolt.

Read More

Today we reflect on our memories of Bob Lehman, honorary Pac West member.  He was a longtime contributor to our organization, and will be missed.

Read More