A recent article in the Industrial Supply Magazine, focusing on the hiring of new talent, states that there “lacks a solid understanding of the distribution industry (for new employees) and how their role contributes to the success of the organization”. A simplistic answer would be that the distribution industry facilitates the flow of product from manufacturer to end user. Upon further review, procuring product and directing its destination is but one of many functions that modern distribution must provide. The essence of distribution is to understand the customer issues involved in procuring products and services critical to their operations. Really, it’s not what products are purchased by our customers, it’s the products benefits and performance once they arrive at their destination. New (and existing) employees must use their communication skills to ask questions – quality questions, whose purpose is to gain insight into the customers process. Insight that could help direct outside sales efforts to the source of a (performance) problem or opportunity for potential cost savings. Rarely is there only one solution for a machining opportunity. Distribution has grown in importance over the past decade as information technology has taken center stage. Distribution plays a key role in reducing obsolescence, organizing tooling usage, assigning costs to various profit centers in a plant, solving machining problems, introducing new technology and logistics. Improving the supply chain with regard to delivery and performance (of products and services) lies in the realm of what modern distribution does or should be doing. People are the difference in this process!
Kevin Burnett, Executive Vice President