Channel programs News
GTDC Panel: Distribution Taking Ever-Changing Challenges Head-On
Joseph F. Kovar
Whether it’s new investments, supply chain constraints or the move to Everything as a Service, distributors have the resilience to shift their business to better serve their partner communities, according to a panel of distribution executives at the GTDC Forum 2021.
Supply Chain Constraints
Esprinet‘s Cattani said the COVID-19 pandemic showed that supply chains can be disrupted.
“You don‘t know where, you don’t know when, but a major disruption will come,” he said. ”That’s the biggest lesson that I think we learned. Hence, you need to be flexible. Flexibility is the issue.”
It is important for businesses to have well-tuned IT systems and a strong management team that can react swiftly to supply chain changes, Cattani said.
The current supply chain constraint is raising what Cattani called a philosophical question.
“Everyone is stretched to match the cost of just-in-time,” he said. ”And this quest to have super-lean inventory levels and a [push for] low costs by outsourcing everything to only a few places in the world with very long supply chains is a big question mark. I‘m reading about re-shoring, and there are also geopolitical issues behind the conflict between supply chains in the Western world and China.”
Distributors have to sit with vendor partners to discuss supply chains, Cattani said.
“We need more information,” he said. ”That‘s the big lesson. We need to connect our systems even better to the [systems] of our vendor partners to get better information. And what will be the real winning point will be the capability to adapt to changes, whatever this would mean, [maybe] higher levels of inventory or whatever.”