What Does the Future of Distribution Look Like?


The beginning of the 2020s has not been the kindest to businesses, and wholesale distributors have been hit particularly hard by the trials and tribulations relating to the global health crisis. Distributors have had to adjust on the fly to new rules, regulations, and a seemingly never-ending series of challenges. The upside to this is that many businesses now find themselves in a position to make their operations more dynamic and agile and drive themselves into the future.

Perhaps the most dramatic change has been the explosion of virtual distribution or omnichannel distribution. Pre-pandemic this expanded offering was considered little more than a nice option if a business could afford it; now it is a requirement. This expanded approach gives businesses the ability to interact with both customers and suppliers in ways that they are most comfortable with, improving not only the bottom line, but customer satisfaction.

Another key change has been the increased reliance on data and integration. As businesses went remote they realized that data quality and accessibility were key to operating at a high level through trying circumstances. Integrating workflows and allowing all employees to access business data from anywhere greatly enhances a distributor’s ability to hit important benchmarks by ensuring that everyone not only can access the data, but by ensuring everyone is accessing the same, up-to-date data. Data analytics have also revolutionized many distribution businesses, allowing companies to dive deep into their data and find trends, insights, and areas for improvement without costly outside help.

The digital revolution has also allowed businesses to focus on growing globally while still maintaining a solid core of local, stable customers. By joining a more global economy businesses can diversify, ensuring that a single disruption along their pipeline is not crippling to the business. The ability to expand this focus without losing sight of local customer bases that are the backbone of a small to medium sized business is vital, as it balances the risk and reward columns.

Businesses looking to the future and employing innovative technology are gaining an increasingly large upper hand across nearly every field of business, and wholesale distributors aggressively so. By partnering with the right ERP provider they can ensure they are able to deliver cutting edge solutions to an increasingly global, integrated, data-driven world.

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