What will be the trend of the distribution market in 2013?
The lines between engineering and purchasing will continue to blur, validating the importance of a next generation distribution model.
This next generation approach is less “catalogue” and more of a hybrid model that can offer customers high-touch online resources and personalised support.
The hybrid model offers customers access to a large database of searchable content backed by an e-commerce engine.
Then, once the design is complete, the model offers customers a personalised approach built upon a high-mix, low volume model that takes on the customer’s inventory risk.
This hybrid distribution model supports the engineering process from prototype to production.
Based on current market trends, 2013 is the year where the relevance of a “hybrid” electronic distribution model will become evident.
What will be the most important challenge in 2013?
Customers are driving significant changes in how we do business, demanding new methods of information access, self-service, and on-demand interaction with an organisation.
The proliferation of mobile devices and cloud computing have also contributed to this shift, requiring distributors to improve how they manage content and communications. Video and other multimedia formats align with social media, blogs and online communities are becoming expected forums for communication.
It will be critical going forward for distributors to effectively manage online content while answering customer demand for immediacy, relevance, and online interaction. This industry remains in a “hand-to-mouth” environment, with little planning by the customers, so it remains important to offer off-the-shelf product availability for immediate delivery.
Over the past 18 months there have been significant changes in your approach to the market?
Global market dynamics have positively influenced evolution of our business over the past 18 months. One significant change is the addition of sales resources to support business development in the EMEA region.
We recently hired senior-level sales directors to support both our core engineering audience as well as production business buyers in Germany, the UK and Ireland, Central Europe, and the Nordic countries.
We will soon be opening an EMEA sales and customer support office in the near future.
In addition to EMEA, Greater China is an interesting market opportunity that we are keeping a close eye on.
Which are most interesting (or the one with the best perspective) product lines?
We are seeing interesting growth patterns in the adoption of several emerging technologies. These technologies include natural language computing include gesture, voice and motion sensors; single board computing; silicon carbide components; and lighting solutions. Some of the emerging applications are particularly applicable in medical, automotive, energy, military, and aerospace.