In 1967, when I first began working in the industrial distribution field, I never imagined the market would become what it is today. I liken Amazon to a giant gorilla who is attempting to dominate the retail and wholesale industrial markets; they are definitely changing our industry. The Millennials are the catalyst which is driving the Amazon concept of doing business. There is hardly a field (retail, grocery, industrial tooling) that hasn’t, or won’t soon, feel the impact of Amazon’s greedy grasp.
To give you an idea of the challenges that industrial distributors are facing, we have a contract renewal pending with a customer with whom we have partnered for the past 20-years. Their corporate philosophy has changed to reflect the new online methodology of purchasing which does not require engineering expertise; only computer-based technological acumen. The Millennials in these positions do not want, nor would they be able to knowledgeably discuss, tooling metrics with distributors. Bid packages are placed online and there are three determiners: price, price and price. Gone are the days when a distributor with engineering-based sales reps had an edge in the marketplace.
If you are an independent distributor and have not invested in the technology to provide online servicing to your customer, you are quickly becoming antiquated and it is time to sell before your company loses all value. Fortunately, quite some time ago Haggard & Stocking saw the writing on the wall and invested heavily in IT personnel, hardware and software to enable us to compete in this market. Those of you near my age may recall the American Tourister commercial with the gorilla. H&S intends to the “suitcase” to Amazon’s “Gorilla”.
President and CEO