One distinction stands above all others in separating market-driven distribution companies from the competition: They set internal priorities based on an external, market perspective. This requires the confidence to define your own direction and the discipline to avoid the trap of generic “best practices.”
After all, a strength is only a strength if it provides value to a target customer. If your customers are industrial production facilities buying flawless logistics to support 100% uptime, technical expertise is not a strength, even if every single rep in your company holds a PhD in engineering.
In today’s hyper-competitive environment the only way to create shareholder value is by providing authentic customer value. There are no shortcuts. If you can solve their problems and provide the important things better than anyone else, you are in a position to sustain high profitability for a long time. If you don’t, you may be able to temporarily gain higher margins by cutting service or secretly raising prices. But, sooner or later, they will recognize the disconnect between cost and value, and defect to your competitors.