Unless you happen to be one of the nearly 6 million people employed in the Wholesale Distribution Industry the impact and value of wholesale distribution goes mostly unnoticed by the average consumer. The fact is, the Wholesale Distribution Industry accounts for more than $5.5 trillion in global trade. In the United States alone, wholesale/distributor sales equal approximately $3.2 trillion, which also accounts for roughly 7% of private industry GDP since 1987. With that kind of contribution to the global economy, one would expect the industry would have a higher profile with consumers. However, in wholesale trade, goods are purchased and stored in large quantities and sold in batches of a designated quantity to resellers, professional users, or groups, not to the general public.
Whether supplying a range of goods, or focusing on specialty products or add-on services, wholesale distributors act as aggregators of demand, buffering manufacturers from small orders and logistics complexity while placing inventory closer to consumers for faster delivery. Efficient inventory management and fulfillment operations are essential for success, and leading wholesaling companies have long recognized that optimizing their supply chain operations is a key component to gaining a competitive edge, or to hold ground against the competition.
Wholesale distributors are faced with growing costs, shrinking margins, new competitors and demanding customers. Effective supply chain management is what often separates successful wholesale distributors from those that struggle. Recently, we took a look at six key actions to drive success in the white paper Six Supply Chain Actions that Drive Wholesale Distribution Success.
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