The following article is an excerpt from the 2.20.18 Data Driven Newsletter.


Do you think “Amazon Update” should be a regular section of the DDN?  The news releases from Seattle frequently spark as many reactions as tweets from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Many of our conversations each week begin with “did you see ..” or “OMG can you believe what they are doing now!?”  There were two items recently with implications for our channel.

The first is the availability of free delivery within two hours of orders that exceed $35 from Whole Foods.  That is starting in select markets with the goal of national availability.  The other item was an update of their efforts to launch a delivery service that will compete with UPS and FedEx.  Both of these have implications for our channel. 


A distributor’s goal is to protect/gain share by providing the best service so you don’t get Blockbusted.  That is a crucial reason for members to participate in the benchmarking programs.  The monthly TRENDS survey provides early insight into relative performance.  The Amazing Unitary Market Report [I am advocating for that name change] takes that insight a big step further by comparing your equipment sales, by product line and efficiency level, to the states where you operate.  Use the annual benchmarking program, Distributor Performance Dashboards (DPD) to see the operational performance and allocation of resources.  Customer expectations, like rapid delivery, are changing and these member benefits help you keep pace with the evolution of the industry.


The goal post is moving and the definition of “what is good” is changing. As a member told us recently: “Distribution must become increasingly easier to do business with and become super consistent in the delivery of products and services.”  An article in the Wall Street Journal last week noted that architects and city planners are incorporating easier delivery options into their designs to “future-proof” everything from roads to parking garages against what they say is an upheaval in transportation of goods and people.  Distributors need to expand their delivery capabilities to protect/gain share and “be easier to do business with.” 


The early steps in the supply chain links are being reshaped.  Uber Freight has had extensive discussions about acquiring Load Delivered Logistics.  Winning the Last Mile of Delivery is where HARDI distributors can protect and gain share.  These ideas are discussed in The Future of Freight by Deloitte University Press.  This is more of a “big picture” consultant perspective like the growing importance of asset sharing as an effective strategy.  I thought this graphic was a great summary and highlighted two areas where distributors are experimenting.  Helping your customers to be more efficient is a great way to distinguish yourself in your markets.  Outsourcing delivery could allow you to be the most effective partner – both faster and cheaper.


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