Embracing the Digital Economy in the Wholesale Distribution Industry by Karen Lynch, Vice President, Global Head, SAP - Energy Watch News

Embracing the Digital Economy in the Wholesale Distribution Industry by Karen Lynch, Vice President, Global Head, SAP

Are you an innovator or a follower? Disrupter or disrupted? Growing or stagnant? Digital predator or digital prey? The choice is yours.

Today’s competitive markets demand that wholesale distributors evolve more quickly, become more efficient, and provide memorable customer experiences. For decades, distributors have thrived primarily on great existing customer relationships. In the new millennium, simply breaking bulk and having great relationships are not enough. Today, leading distributors are using digital technology to create, deliver, and sustain new and meaningful customer experiences. If you’re not thinking about how to incorporate technologies such as drones, 3D printing, smart vending machines, customer-facing apps, and more into your strategy, you will be left behind.

To survive, companies must rethink business processes and models and use of their vast wealth of data to remain relevant and leapfrog their competitors. Disrupters are making headway in markets traditionally served by distributors, and customer and employee expectations are changing rapidly.

Big change always comes with risk, but it also offers untold opportunity to innovators. To capitalize on the opportunity, wholesale distributors are investing in a set of strategic priorities:
• Using value-added services to create new revenue sources–Offer services such as light manufacturing kitting
• Becoming a real-time distributor–Deliver within hours by using drones or Uber drivers
• Providing infinite inventory–Use 3D printing in-house or at a customer location

To execute the strategic priorities, leading distributors are:
• Reimagining business models to identify and monetize new opportunities
• Reimagining business processes to optimize business outcomes by implementing bold initiatives to completely automate core, highly administrative processes
• Reimagining the role and structure of their workforce to support their current and future business

Reimagining business requires guts, determination, and a digital framework that underlies both internal business processes and models as well as external customer interactions. All stakeholders –customers, suppliers, and employees –will use digital innovation. This paper will show you how you can begin to execute on this vision by providing examples of how you can survive in the present and thrive in the future. This will require focusing on customer engagement opportunities, offering new services, executing on processes that easily enable insight to action, integrating cloud-based business networks, tapping into an extended workforce, and building the bridge to advanced solution landscapes using new technologies.

This document offers our perspective on where the industry will go and how SAP can help in the evolution of the digital economy. We thank you for your interest and look forward to your feedback.

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