Many wholesale and distribution companies do not perceive that they have any significant exposure to cyber risk given that most of the publicity around these incidents involves government entities, large retailers and healthcare providers. While these industries certainly have a more acute exposure to risks involving cyber attacks, wholesalers and distributors are far from immune. 

Every wholesaler and distributor conducts business with their employees, their vendors and their customers through e-mail, wire transfer and electronic data entry. Every one of these transactions exposes them to a potential cyber breach. An employee mistakenly sending a corrupted file, a hidden virus or an inadvertent attachment can result in allowing malicious third parties access to other organizations’ computer systems. It is for these reasons that companies take a look at the cyber security measures they have in place. 

A supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The pain of supply chain disruptions is most acute and costly for wholesale distributors, where failure to deliver the right quantity on time can cause problems that matriculate up and down the greater network. Companies that can’t deliver on their promise often meet the same fate – they get tossed aside for one of their competitors, and there isn’t a second chance to right the service wrongs of the past. At the same time, wholesalers are challenged to achieve improved profitability in an industry where margins are razor thin, and customer loyalty is a concept of a bygone era.

Software has created a brand new business reality. Over the last decade, it has increased automation of processes, transactions and distribution across every industry and organization, including wholesale. The shift not only involves the use of software in particular processes, but also with exposure of software interfaces to others — internal developers, partners, customers and the world at large. The result is a transformation for individual businesses that makes them radically more flexible and better able to engage with their customers.

The dawn of this revolution has to do largely with the cloud, and the promise that you can drastically reduce costs for processing orders while improving the buying experience for all customers in all channels, anywhere at any time.

There comes a time in every company’s lifecycle where the decision has to be made whether to sell the business. This turning point can be due to several factors – lack of proper management team to continue the business, lack of a younger familial generation to take over or outside competitive or financial pressures. There are several important practical considerations to address when going through this process. 

E-commerce as a sales channel for the retail industry continues to grow. Online sales are expected to be more than $400 billion in the United States alone in the next several years, a growth rate that is becoming much higher than traditional in-store sales.

Before the rise of the smartphone, brick and mortar retail stores controlled the entire customer process. Stores influenced the consumers “discover” and “decide” activities through mainstream media advertising and in-store promotions. This was important for retailers, as the act of discovering a product and determining which product to buy are perhaps the most important steps for the consumer when buying something. In today’s world, these steps are performed more and more in the digital world. The days of an uninformed consumer walking into a store, finding the product and choosing between brands is all but over.

The FDA’s increasing international expansion means manufacturers and suppliers will be under constant global surveillance. From a manufacturer and supplier standpoint, this global, watchful FDA eye means the level of scrutiny on production facilities and clinical trial sites used by American manufacturers is on the rise.

In the pharmaceutical industry, the number of FDA-regulated shipments has nearly quadrupled in the past decade, quickly expanding from 8 million imports in 2004, to 31 million in 2014. Consider India, which stands second in terms of the number of pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities outside of the United States with a total of 523 and accounts for nearly 40 percent of the US drug imports. Often,  foreign-based manufacturers use less stringent processes and regulatory systems than here in the United States. However, this poses a conflict, as this industry faces some of the greatest margin pressures, harsher regulatory demands and ever-increasing competition. Manufacturers need to be vigilant with the management of their quality and standards practices, no matter where they are in the world. 

Manufacturer’s representatives are a critical link in the supply chains of many manufacturers. Companies that are looking to enter a new market, solidify their existing market presence, introduce a new product or are seeking sales manpower they may not possess often look to representatives as an extension of their own businesses.

Industry-specific manufacturer’s representatives offer a number of advantages  including product expertise, intimate knowledge of their territory and, in many cases, decades-old relationships with manufacturers and wholesalers. 

These days, customer orders can hit a warehouse from any direction. It doesn’t matter whether a company runs a B2C or B2B operation; the new rules of e-commerce have changed the distribution industry forever.

With customers purchasing across multiple channels including brick and mortar stores, online, over the phone, via mobile apps and direct from the warehouse, warehouse management systems (WMS) must now be able to handle not only traditional, large pallet storage and shipping operations efficiently, but also embrace complex custom orders and services in the context of an omni-channel supply chain.

How does an organization make a profit off of a single box of candy, picked and wrapped in a private label on location, and then shipped to a residence 1,200 miles away – with delivery overnight?

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