State of Wholesale Distribution: A Survey of Key Business Objectives and Challenges among Mid-Market

NetSuite recently completed a "State of the Industry" Wholesale and Distribution survey – it was a great undertaking that allowed us to get insights and feedback from a great cross-section of mid-market and fast growing business leaders. We didn't intent to do original research but in trying to get a sense of the market place we quickly realized that there weren't any good sources – NAW does terrific work but their focus is on the industry giants, we wanted to learn about typical wholesaler and distributor – their key priorities, focus, objectives.

In the first half of 2010, NetSuite undertook a survey on the state of business within the mid-market wholesale and distribution (WD) industry. The majority of respondents reported significant optimism for growth in the future. More than 70% believe that their business growth will improve in the near term, and 95% believe it will either improve or remain steady. On key objectives, the vast majority of mid-market WD businesses are focused on achieving a balance between revenue growth and cost savings. Profitable growth through greater customer satisfaction, better employee productivity, and efficient automation and streamlining of business processes is the mantra of 2010 and beyond.

This optimism is a positive change from 2009, when companies were preparing to cut costs in an effort to just "weather the storm" by any means necessary. The results of this survey make clear that mid-market WD companies believe that the worst is behind them and are preparing for sustainable growth moving forward.

NetSuite's online survey of mid-market WD companies in North America was designed to better understand the industry's economic health, business objectives, focus areas, key challenges and its use of software to support business processes. Participating WD companies met the following criteria:

  • Engaged in wholesale business or in the business of finished goods distribution
  • Annual revenues of less than $500 million USD.

More than 40,000 contacts received an invitation to participate. With more than 250,000 U.S. businesses self-designating as being in the WD business, this was a significant undertaking and builds on an earlier industry assessment by the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW). Among our respondents, 44% identified themselves as decision-makers with regards to purchase decisions of customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions at their companies. Nearly 31% are key recommenders or influencers, and 15% have a voice in CRM and ERP decisions. The remaining 10% are users or implementers, or have no decision-making role.

The results are in “The State of Wholesale Distribution: A Survey of Key Business Objectives and Challenges among Mid-Market WD Companies” and in the report, we were able to get great insights about:

  • How WD leaders are increasing revenue, cutting costs and improving efficiency
  • How other WD businesses are making their employees more productive
  • Which new technologies businesses are considering to take advantage of growth opportunities
  • What strategies are being put into place to maximize customer value.

We invite you to contact us to learn more or click here to download the full report.

- Roman Bukary, Head of Industries Marketing, NetSuite

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