Why Analytics Can Help Wholesalers Succeed and Standout Above the Crowd

Recent wholesale distribution research conducted and put out by the National Association of Wholesaler Distributors has revealed the importance of analytics in our uncertain and unfamiliar economic environment.  Guy Blisset, who put these findings in writing, stresses that to be successful in a business climate still recovering from economic crisis, a wholesaler-distributor must be able to effectively apply analytics in order to deepen customer insights, improve decision making processes, identify and respond to evolving dynamics of the market, and to simply operate their businesses with efficacy.  These skills have always been relevant; however, they are growing progressively more important as competitiveness and consumer expectation increase. 


Analytical tools and strategies that most wholesalers are already familiar with include Lean principles, Six Sigma principles, price and inventory optimization, and proper segmentation of clients, products and suppliers.  In order to ensure future success in an uncertain economic environment, Blisset suggests that wholesaler-distributors continue to implement these tools and must develop and expand their analytical strategies.  The first step to this process is to collect current data from the organization and compare it to past data from across the organization and data from similar organizations.  The second step is to analyze these data on an accelerated time frame to gain a better understanding of any potential upcoming trends and changes.  The third step is to communicate these results with your business team, emphasizing individual role-specific insights, actions, and changes that need to be made to accommodate the results.  The final step is to then analyze the difference these changes have made and refine future actions based on these new results.       


Although analytics have always been important, it is now quite necessary that they be strongly rooted within your company’s foundation, used and developed continuously to gain a strategic edge over competition, and continuously implemented in leveraging complexity and informed decision-making strategies.  It is equally important to ensure that the people and processes in your company are steadily evolving while embracing these analytics.  Ultimately, when analytics are applied properly, they will help employees adopt improved ways of working and will increase the production of informed, effective problem solving, which are both vital to the survival and success of any wholesaler-distributor in our current and future economic environment.

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16 Feb 2012

By Jennifer M. Culin