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Author's profile photo Michelle Schooff

Analyzing and Optimizing Everything in Wholesale Distribution

According to the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors in the book:  Facing the Forces of Change:  Reimagining Distribution in a Connected World, by Guy Blissett:


  • The majority of distributors are advancing their maturity in foundational analytics areas… the evolution
  • Distributors are exploring the application of advanced analytics, with the topic of Big Data gaining currency… the revolution
  • Big Data, which encompasses structured, unstructured and semi-structured data, is relevant to distributors large and small
  • Leading distributors are leveraging analytics to document their value to customers and suppliers
  • Distributors are appreciating that their central position in the value chain creates unique opportunities for analytics offerings

Wholesale Distributors like Avnet, Graybar and Maines are realizing the importance of insights and analytics… and the need to better leverage IT and data.

Operations executives are Investments are investing in analytics to better manage inventories and profitability.  Many are investments are being planned in analytics areas such as understanding of activity costs, better managing inventory and optimizing prices.  We are finding that Distributors are investing heavily to enhance their analytic capabilities for efficiencies and competitive advantage. CEOs want to deepen their understanding of cost and profit drivers in their business.

Distributors continue to think about investments in Big Data, which is relevant to all sizes and types of distributors and include the areas of RFID, sales reports and website analytics.  These analytics can help with customer retention, product preferences and pricing.


Wholesale distributors are leveraging advanced analytics in the areas of Software as a Service and cloud to level the analytics playing field.   Importance is being placed on the enablement of faster, more granular analytics, with ‘what if’ capabilities.


Of particular importance is the use of analytics for digital promotion and marketing effectiveness, search engine optimization, web analytics and the influence pre-sale research and post-sale follow-up.  Significant emphasis is being placed on optimizing the customer experience and better understanding customer, product, order and line item profitability.


To learn more from Graybar, one of the largest private,  employee owned companies in the U.S.; Fortune500 company Avnet; and Maines Paper and
Food Service, a distributor with a customer portfolio including Applebees, Darden Restaurants, Chili’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Subway, hospitals, schools,

casinos, independently owned restaurants; download a recent webinar here:

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