Distributor Weekly Pandemic Revenue Index (PRI): March 16-20, 2020

Written by Mike Marks, Mike Emerson on Tuesday, 24 March 2020. Posted in Pandemic Revenue Index, Business Strategy, Distribution

The graph you are looking at is the first output of the Indian River Consulting Group Pandemic Revenue Index (PRI) of distributor sales each week compared with their same week in the prior year as a percentage. The Index is based on data from many distributors across multiple lines of trade we have invited; they’ve agreed to share their weekly revenue data until this thing sorts itself out.

Distributor Pandemic Revenue Index 3 16 to 3 20


We only share the aggregate results and protect the confidentiality of our contributors.

Sales in the March 16-20 week were down 5.56% for the participating distributors, compared with the same week in the prior year. Sales in the week March 9-13, were up 3.01%, and sales in the week March 2-6 were up 3.17%. That compares with the final two weeks of February, where sales for distributors were up 6.87% and 10.17% respectively.

We think it says a lot about leadership when these firms, some quite large, are willing to do the work when everyone gets to look at what they see. They are supporting our distribution tribe for the betterment of us all. This first report only has data from five participants as we are busy inputting the data from other participants. This entire effort started late last week. When our sample size becomes large enough, we will name those firms who are willing as an acknowledgement of their contribution to us all.

If this pandemic rolls on for several months, we will be happy to do specific indices by industry vertical. We will welcome additional participants, but data must be shared going back to Feb. 17-20. If you would be willing to participate, please email Mike Emerson, Partner, at memerson@ircg.com, and he will send you the input tool.

What we are working on next

  • We will be doing webinars on how to stress test a distribution business over the coming weeks. We will record them and put them in the public domain for anyone interested. Stay tuned for dates and times.
  • We are polishing up our primary Excel spreadsheet used for stress testing and trying to make it more user-friendly. We will post it in the public domain as well and maintain a blog answering questions posted by users of the tool..
  • We are working on a webinar on best practices for a distributor reduction in force. Distribution is different and some of what we have learned from literally over 100 of these consulting projects is really counterintuitive. We will also post this in the public domain.

This kind of business issue has been a core part of our consulting business for decades. Often, it was getting a distributor out of financial issues when they still looked fine from the outside. It is sad to say but major disruptions are always good for the consulting industry. This industry has been great to us. We are strong enough that we will not have a reduction in force. Sure, we want business just like everyone else, but this page and the content that it will eventually contain is part of our payback to our industry.

About the Author

Mike Marks

Mike Marks

Mike Marks co-founded IRCG in April 1987. He began his consulting practice after working in distribution management for more than 20 years. Over the years, his narrow focus in B2B channel-driven markets has created an extensive number of deep executive relationships within virtually every business vertical in construction, industrial, OEM, agricultural, and healthcare.

Mike has led project teams that improve market access by aligning resources to growth opportunities serving manufacturers, dealers, and distributors. Clients have ranged from small privately owned firms to many of the industry’s market share leaders. Ownership structures have included owner-operators, private equity, ESOPs, and publically traded firms. Mike is proud of the teams work and the confidence clients have shown with additional project work.

He has written extensively, and is frequently quoted on many industry issues. He has substantial board experience on both public and private distribution firms. His contributions to the field include serving multiple terms as a Research Fellow with the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, permanent faculty at Purdue University’s University of Industrial Distribution, eight years as Graduate Adjunct Faculty in the Industrial Distribution Program at Texas A & M University, and rendering several precedent-setting expert opinions in contract disputes between manufacturers and distributors.

Prior to forming IRCG, Mike held the position of Executive Vice President at Lex Electronics, an $800 million vertically integrated electronics distributor in Stamford, CT. Mike’s path to management in his early career was through increasing responsibilities in sales and sales management. He also completed a tour of duty as a manufacturer’s representative.

Mike Emerson

Mike Emerson

Mike Emerson has been an IRCG Partner for six years. Mike joined Indian River in 1998 and has worked with hundreds of distributors and manufacturers of all sizes and within many lines of trade.

As a Partner in the firm, Mike has managed a broad array of projects. His main focus areas include: compensation design, strategy facilitation, market research, and data modeling and analysis.

Mike writes extensively on distributor and marketing channel topics and is frequently quoted on contemporary issues. He has authored four books, published by NAW: What’s Your Plan? Smart Salesforce Compensation in Wholesale Distribution, Working at Cross-Purposes: How Distributors and Manufacturers Can Manage Conflict Successfully, Value Creation Strategies for Wholesaler-Distributors and What’s the Right Plan? Effective Sales Incentive Design for Wholesaler-Distributors. Mike is also a university lecturer on marketing topics.

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