Is Technology Changing the Role of Distributors?
(An abridged version of an article by Gail McGrew that was originally printed in AMT News. AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology is the owner and operator of IMTS.)
Distributors deliver tremendous value to their customers, making their machine tools and processes more productive and profitable. They have developed strong personal relationships with their customers and can advise them based upon previous experiences.
Most distributors invest heavily in training and support, teaching their salespeople and applications engineers how the products work and where and how they should be applied. Getting to know and understand customers is the key to delivering exactly what they need to further their business goals.
Technology Complements Distribution
There are already many ways that technology is complementing the relationship between the distributor and the end user. People can access and send information quickly over the internet or on their smart phones, and they can videoconference or use online meeting apps to make a presentation if an actual meeting is not possible. In this respect, technology is adding flexibility to relationships.
Technology such as predictive analytics can help both the end user and the distributor, diagnosing operational problems before they happen and enabling equipment to be replaced or repaired just in time, thereby significantly reducing downtime. Additionally, some equipment problems can be diagnosed and serviced through digital video applications, saving time and keeping operations running.
That said, the younger generation is using email—not to mention texting—to communicate more than previous generations ever did. Email has a more transactional, less personal feel, and does not seem like the optimal vehicle for communicating empathy or building trust. Only time will tell how effective email is in building and cementing sales relationships.
Distributors will have a chance to learn more about new technologies, what to pay attention to, and how to leverage current applications to support sales and service at D19, taking place September 11-12, 2019, at the MGM Grand in Detroit, Mich. The summit’s theme, Building a New Path to Your Customers, will address the future of distribution and the role of both technology and relationships in building that future.
Featuring many networking opportunities, speakers who are leaders in their fields, a panel discussion on The Future of Distribution, exhibits, and presentations from AMT executives, D19 will bring together more than 150 distributors, builders, and suppliers.
“Because many owners and executives also attend D19, it is an excellent opportunity to network with higher-level decision makers and talk about new ways of doing business—what I like to call change conversations—instead of a focus on speeds and feeds,” added D19 speaker Matt Conway.
An exciting roster of speakers will discuss new sales and marketing techniques, best practices in the field, and the latest trends and technologies in manufacturing, distribution, and sales. Sessions include:
- The Ultimate Guide to Social Selling by Daniel Disney, Author and Coach, The Daily Sales, & named No. 1 Most Influential Sales Expert on LinkedIn 2019.
- Change is Inevitable: Industry 4.0 by Nick Karaisz, Vice President, KAR Enterprises, Inc.
- Manufacturing Eco & Emerging Technology by Steve Kline, Chief Data Officer, Gardner Business Media, and Pete Zelinski, Editor-in-Chief, Modern Machine Shop.
Gain insight to support your sales and service business by registering today at www.distribution19.com.