As an important channel between the global supply chain and the economy, wholesale distribution companies move behind the scenes, finding and distributing needed goods to their customers across the globe. However, the recent coronavirus pandemic has challenged these organizations with the impact of unpredictable demand fluctuations, disruptions in the supply chain, and increased workforce health and safety issues, all of which have placed an incredible strain on business-to-customer relationships.
When wholesalers get bogged down, everyone downstream suffers. Prices escalate, product availability is spotty, and quality control can suffer as wholesalers switch sources to keep supplies moving. In the industry, smart wholesalers are paying close attention to these four major trends that continue to reshape industry dynamics.
Four Trends in Wholesale Distribution That Should Be On Your Radar
Disruption is still ongoing, even as the coronavirus pandemic begins to release its hold on daily life around the world. In the post-pandemic marketplace, four trends are continuing to impact the wholesale industry:
- Surging Competition
As the whole world shifted to accommodate the many health and safety requirements brought about by the pandemic, customers, especially B2B customers, found new channels offering preferential delivery and pricing options and greater personalization. These competitors to the traditional wholesale distribution market used technology to leverage evolving opportunities such as e-commerce to chip away at wholesalers’ market share. Wholesalers are adjusting, however, by offering services with added value that support customer trust and loyalty, which is harder to gain from online distributors.
- Global Dynamics
Shifting sources and rapidly changing demand patterns caused distributors to monitor sourcing risks to better forecast — and plan for — demand. Inventory planning and management, as well as supply chain transparency, can help wholesalers assess demands more realistically and better manage their working capital. Automated processes can help reduce errors that distort planning abilities and help decision-makers choose more salient pathways to success.
- Talent Shortages
Today’s talent is not just looking for jobs — they are looking for companies where they can add value to social, environmental, and other actions. They want access to the kind of technologies that provide real-time insights and eschew tedious manual operations in favor of effective processes and higher-value tasks. To attract — and keep — good talent, wholesalers should automate processes to streamline workflows, strengthen best practices, and allow their employees to excel and achieve. Process automation software that reduces repetitive tasks and errors is an excellent way to not only increase staff job satisfaction but also reduce the potential for lower quality output.
Software that encourages process automation, such as enterprise content management (ECM) or document management solutions, is a perfect adjunct to a high-technology, low manual entry environment.
- Regulatory Complexities
With the governments of the entire world involved in tracking the trajectory of coronavirus infection rates, increased concern over data privacy has arisen around the globe. Now, wholesale distributors must be aware of — and compliant with — regulatory requirements along the entire supply chain. There are national mandates, geographical considerations, and many subsegments of compliance that require the tracking, tracing, and monitoring of goods, all of which can increase the overall cost of doing business. Alongside this, data privacy and protection measures exist around the world, each with its own set of compliance features that must be met. For many wholesalers, keeping up with emerging rules — and emerging threats — can prove difficult. That is why many turn to software such as print and document management solutions that can ensure critical data is secure and compliant throughout the business lifecycle.
Confused About How to Proceed? Blue Technologies Can Help
The ever-changing world of global commerce can be difficult to navigate, especially if you don’t have an IT team with leading-edge knowledge of front-line technology. At Blue Technologies, we have a team of experts that can assist your company in navigating these trends — and more. From simple but powerful software solutions such as print management and document management to comprehensive Managed IT strategies, our team can help your team succeed.
Set your course for success when you navigate industry trends with leading-edge technology by your side. Contact a Blue Technologies consultant and learn how our suite of IT solutions can help your business thrive.