How Distributors Can Adopt to the Digital Transformation ‎

By: Mike Mortensen, President, CEO Alaska Rubber Group

Distributors should embrace the power of digital technologies and use them to drive efficiency and productivity. This could include using cloud-based systems, automation, analytics, and other digital tools to streamline operations and improve performance. What technologies do you feel are most important to hose & accessory distribution going into 2023? We have some leading industry leaders to discuss this critical topic.

Alexandra “Ali” Kirtley, Marketing Director for PT, has nearly five years in the manufacturing industry paired with 10 years of experience in the communication field with an emphasis on education. She is responsible for developing, implementing, and monitoring all aspects of internal and external communication, digital marketing, brand awareness, and product marketing.

From the manufacturing perspective, we want to make it as simple as possible for distributors to get our product on their e-commerce website and within their CRM and ERP software. As the buying trends shift and the purchasing environments change, the consistent factor that manufacturers and distributors share are to have in-depth and consumable data, “ready for use.” As a manufacturer, we’ve adopted the perspective of “consistency is key” when each of our distributors publishes content on our products. Creating “ready-for-use data” can be overwhelming for a small team, so manufacturers and distributors must work together to cover all of the “data needs” from a progressive upload perspective. It’s not a manufacturer’s responsibility to tell a distributor how to manage their data, but it is our responsibility to give a distributor the right data information and tools to complete their publishing data, presenting the image in a manner consistent with the manufacturer’s branding depiction requirements.

Lydia Rice is the Director of eCommerce and Digital Marketing at TIPCO Technologies. Within one year, Lydia implemented a Product Information Management (PIM) solution, full eCommerce integration, and website rebranding for TIPCO, leading the 135-year-old distributor into the digital age. The digital transformation journey has grown the selling channel, evolved TIPCO’s product education resources, and improved TIPCO’s brand representation of world-class manufacturers. Lydia strongly believes in the power technology has to help strengthen the selling capabilities of industrial distributors and their supplier partners.

Distributors can adopt digital transformation by reflecting on their current pain points and finding technology-forward solutions to ease them. Is a major paint point easy access to accurate product information for your team? Look towards a product information management (PIM) solution instead of more printed literature. Are you struggling to find a direct marketing process that reaches your customers? A text or email marketing solution might be the way to go. Digital transformation is not “all or nothing”. Instead, find solutions that adopt technology and weave them into your current operations. 

Dan Banks is a seasoned professional with over 20 years of experience working with software focused on wholesale distribution. As the founder of Domani Strategies, Dan provides distributor-focused consulting services, helping businesses to implement the right technology strategy to differentiate themselves and outpace their competition.

Digital Transformation is a misnomer.  It is more of a journey that starts with the right map.  And there is no true destination, but rather many milestones along the way.  The important thing to remember is that it is also a never-ending journey and there will be detours and U-turns. But with the right map or let’s call it digital strategy, you can limit those.  It is critical to make sure you have the right tools and equipment to avoid getting lost. Navigating and understanding those tools or technologies can be overwhelming. You are not alone in this feeling.  It may be cliché, but a journey starts with a single step.  Some distributors see that step as their website, but that is a very small part of a much bigger picture.  So, don’t look at it as a change to your existing business, but rather as a journey that each part of your organization travels together.

Join Mike Mortensen, President, and CEO of Alaska Rubber Group as he leads a panel to discuss further this critical issue on March 30, 2023, at 1:00 pm EST. Please click here to register!

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