Washington, DC (September 26, 2016) — The NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence announces Facing the Forces of Change®: Navigating the Seas of Disruption, the 11th edition in the landmark Facing the Forces of Change® series.  Since its inception in 1982, this acclaimed series continues to provide insights about the overall future of wholesale distribution and the role of wholesaler-distributors.

Quantity discounts apply when ordering two or more copies. Pricing and order information are available at http://www.naw.org/ftf16.

This latest edition is authored by Paul St. Germain, Wholesale Distribution Lead at IBM. This research study provides wholesaler-distributors, their suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders with strategic insights into the key business and economic trends affecting the wholesale distribution supply chain through 2020. It also describes new, innovative strategies and tactics that distributors can use in response to these trends.

Wholesaler-distributors are living in times of great change and even greater opportunity. This study explores these changes and opportunities in light of the many marketplace disrupters that are causing wholesaler-distributors to rethink their approach to technology, business processes, 
and, most importantly, the customer experience.

Many of the forces identified in the last edition have only intensified and continue to exacerbate the change occurring today. A difficult economy, advancing technology, rapidly changing customer requirements, shifting demographics, and tight margins have placed distributors at a crossroads, where they must take bold, new steps toward becoming more “customer centric”—leading to a maximization of the overall customer experience.

Compounding matters, these market conditions have unleashed a set of disruptive forces—in the form of new competition, technologies, business processes, government rules and regulations, and more—that are causing distributors to reconsider and redevelop their approach to value creation today.

The bold new steps wholesaler-distributors must take to combat these conditions include:  

  • investing in resources that can track and monitor customers’ behavior online
  • developing a deeper understanding of the financial implications to the customer of doing business with your company
  • creating demand for new services that customers acknowledge the value of and for which they are willing to pay
  • understanding how Millennials fit into your workforce—and that they aren't as different as you may think they are.  

Such steps require distributors to develop a value proposition from the customer’s perspective—a factor that forms the basis of this report. As distributors read about the market disrupters, branding strategies, technology changes, workforce opportunities, and developing trends described in these pages, they are encouraged to do so through the lens of customer service, which remains a distributor’s best weapon in today’s ultra-competitive environment.  

Bruce Zwicker, President and CEO of JJ Haines, said this after reading the new research study: “This new Facing the Forces of Change report is very good with relevant content that really captures the reader. As I read it, I was feeling a bit scared and impatient. But that’s good, because the report inspired me to take action!”

As the study highlights, there is no shortage of “forces of change” that will impact wholesaler distributors over the next few years and transform the industry. There is also no shortage of opportunities for distributors to embrace and leverage these forces.

Paul St. Germain will deliver a concise overview of these forces of change at the NAW 2017 Executive Summit: “Navigating the Seas of Disruption,” January 31–February 2, in Washington, DC. Attendees will also hear from wholesale distribution executives who were interviewed for the new trends report about things they are doing at their companies that tie to the forces discussed in the report. To learn more and to register for the NAW 2017 Executive Summit, distributors are encouraged to visit http://www.naw.org/es17

About NAW and the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence  
The National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW) was created in 1946 to deal with issues of interest to the entire merchant wholesale distribution industry, thereby freeing affiliated associations to concentrate on the concerns specific to their lines of trade. NAW is a federation of wholesale distribution associations and thousands of individual firms that collectively total more than 30,000 companies.

The role of the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence is to sponsor and disseminate research into strategic management issues affecting the wholesale distribution industry. The NAW Institute aims to help merchant wholesaler-distributors remain the most effective and efficient channel in distribution.