Industrial Distribution

We help industrial distributors attain commercial and organizational excellence in an age of rapid change and increased competition.

For industrial distributors, new challenges arise daily. Some manufacturers now build their own distribution channels, and others sell directly through online platforms. Recent entrants, including digital leaders and big-box retailers, are also aggressively pursuing market share. Meanwhile, customers have become more sophisticated and demanding. They use data to get steeper discounts and often expect 24/7 customer service, online order tracking, real-time inventory management, and other conveniences as a standard of the shopping experience.

In this evolving landscape, we help industrial distributors build scale, adopt innovative technologies, eliminate customer pain points, and create digital strategies. We also enable companies to become leaner and improve execution by standardizing core operations and processes. Our experts can also help industrial companies move beyond distribution into providing other services such as financing, inventory management, and product expertise. Our knowledge spans all sectors of industrial distribution, including automotive parts, building products, electrical components, electronics, general industrial products, HVAC, IT, and plumbing.

As new challenges arise, distributors will need to move fast to remain competitive. For their leaders, the first step will involve taking a dispassionate, independent view of a business to understand the full improvement potential. Experts can walk companies through this process and help create a structured and transformative approach that allows businesses to thrive amidst disruption.

27

of the top 30 distributors served

>150

practitioners across multiple industries and geographies

>1350

projects in the past 5 years

Examples of our work

Pricing journey

We supported a leading industrial distributor on an end-to-end pricing journey to overturn several years of margin decline. We helped it identify areas of margin leakage and gain new insight into the approach to address it. The effort included introducing new policies, redesigning sales processes, and building capabilities and proper incentives for several hundred branches and associates. The pricing transformation led to a margin increase of 250 basis points (bps) and two years of consecutive quarterly margin expansion.

Landmark merger integration

We partnered with leading distributors across premerger planning and postmerger integration efforts and supported a newly combined entity in achieving 2 percent return on sales-synergy improvement. This increase was 50 percent more than the goals set in the diligence phase through a combination of cost reduction and commercial growth levers.

Advanced analytics

We deployed machine-learning solutions at a global distributor of industrial supplies to accelerate profitable growth. We connected data sources such as customer relationship management (CRM), employee communication, finance data, HR data, and transaction information to identify drivers of sales success and pipeline conversion. Insights were integrated into sales processes, sales-capability building, and sales-territory planning, which delivered a 2-4 percent uplift in revenue and 6-12 percent overall reduction in sales expenses.

Digital enablement support

We partnered with a leading B2B distributor to define the link to value for digital across all customer journeys, identifying approximately $1 billion in revenue and $40-70 million in cost efficiency through a full transformation of its digital customer experience. Working within an accelerated time frame, we redesigned the delivery experience to provide customers with a real-time view of their delivery progress within an app or web platform. The transformation lifted revenue in the pilot group by 4-5 percent and enabled quicker stops for drivers while building agile design and development capabilities in the team.

Featured insights

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