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Josephine Monberg recently interviewed Magnus Meier, Global Head of Wholesale Distribution at SAP, to understand how the current global pandemic COVID-19 is impacting the industry in the short and long-term.  During this podcast, we discussed how distributors are reimagining the nature of their work to continue to fuel the supply chain, playing a critical role in the global economy.

Learn how COVID-19 is accelerating business model transformation for wholesale distributors on the Industry Insights by SAP podcast or catch up on the top three trends highlighted below.

  1. Wholesale Distributors Play a Vital Role in the Global Economy.

The wholesale distribution industry acts as a first responder within the logistics and supply chain world, playing a critical role across the entire supply chain.  With several hundred thousand distributors in the United States and over a million globally, they perform an instrumental role within the pre and post-production supply chain.  This essential position in the market, in parallel with the COVID-19 virus, has put immense pressure on distributors to reinvent themselves.  The world and economy as we know it depends on it!

  1. Each Wholesale Distribution Subsegment is Reacting Differently.

As we know, one size does not fit all for distributors.  Each subsegment of the wholesale distribution industry is reacting differently based upon the nature of goods being distributed.  Overall, we see a great need for distributors to ensure operations are safely continuing to maintain their core function within the supply chain.  The podcast discusses several key examples within the foodservice and healthcare supply chain, but no matter the subsegment, the key takeaway is that COVID-19 is providing distributors the chance to reimagine their business model.  This reimagination is allowing distributors to quickly take on new opportunities to respond, cope, and best support the global economy while keeping their business running.

  1. Technology is Playing a Critical Role in the Transformation of Wholesale Distribution Business Models.

COVID-19 has provided, or perhaps challenged, distributors with the opportunity to accelerate the transformation of business models.  For example, with universities and schools largely closed, smart foodservice providers are rethinking the way they support their communities through the concept of corner stores.  These new pop-up shops enable distributors to get essential goods into the hands of the community quickly and simultaneously establish themselves as a solid partner.

Within wholesale distribution, we are seeing a significant increase in online ordering and virtual interactions enabled by eCommerce technologies.  Distributors who have implemented or already invested in these technologies are reaping the benefits of a strong foundation to maintain customer relations and sales.  We have seen the vital trends of evolving business models within wholesale distributors over the years, but COVID-19 has compressed the timeline significantly.  Technology can help wholesale distributors take advantage of opportunities to thrive, especially in times of crisis.

Learn how COVID-19 is accelerating business model transformation for wholesale distributors on the Industry Insights by SAP podcast.

Wholesale distributors need tools to adapt and be resilient.  Learn how SAP can help your employees and customers get resources to respond quickly and work toward recovery.  Access tools and resources.
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