A few weeks ago, I read a report on the potential for Wholesale & Distribution (W&D) companies to become intelligent enterprises through the use of innovative solutions and platforms. Traditionally, the wholesale industry has been slower than others to adopt new technologies. It’s easy to understand why if you’ve got a Warehouse Management System that’s working for your business.

But the W&D industry is changing and there’s a real danger that wholesalers that neglect the digital economy and fail to embrace digital transformation face a serious risk of falling behind.

The IDC report conducted a global survey of nearly 2,000 wholesalers. The findings showed that the best-run W&D companies achieved 8x greater revenue and profit growth; 7x customer satisfaction; and 4x greater employee productivity. If you’re wondering how they achieved all this, it’s quite simple: through innovative technology.

The report found that the W&D industry is shifting and evolving. However, many SMEs have been able to get ahead of much larger rivals by embracing digital transformation. To be successful, the report says, wholesalers need to differentiate through value-added products and services. There are also opportunities to be explored by embracing new channels and offering externally focused solutions.

Of those organisations that have deployed innovative solutions, more than two-thirds (69%) agreed that new, disruptive technology can provide a competitive advantage over rivals running outdated or legacy systems.

Results from the report also identified that the best-run W&D firms use technology to improve workflows and efficiencies, allowing staff to focus on higher-value activities. These personnel are also more engaged employees, empowered by technology to provide a better customer experience. It’s a win-win situation.

The evolution of the wholesale industry also means that organisations should look to end any ‘specialisation models’ and broaden their horizons to attract new customers. To do this, companies need to build for the future with their business management solutions to be in a position where they can effectively compete with online sellers or direct-from-manufacturer competitors.

Finally, to be successful, W&D businesses need to invest in talent and future capabilities, the report advises. The best-run W&D firms leverage new technology and empower staff to focus on business-critical tasks to move opportunistically into adjacent markets.

Want to turn your W&D firm into a best-run business? Get in touch with one of our team of experts today to find out more about our digital transformation programmes and strategies for forward-thinking wholesalers. Alternatively, give us a call on 01932 212 777 and we can tell you more about how we deliver affordable digital transformation to turn growing organisations into best-run businesses.