How to benchmark your company’s technology investment performance

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March 24, 2017

In an ever more competitive wholesale marketplace, one of the best ways to make sure your company thrives in 2017 and beyond is to measure its performance against the wider industry.

It’s a simple enough concept, though not always an easy one to put into practice, when in-house strategy and day-to-day operations consume every ounce of management time and attention. But if there’s one benchmarking study you read this quarter, you don’t want to miss the new Wholesale Distribution 2016-2017 Investment Guide by IDC Manufacturing Insights.

“Wholesale distributors should evaluate their existing maturity against the best practices, benchmark their budget allocations against the data presented in this report, and calibrate their efforts against the wholesale market to support continued emphasis on transforming the business,” IDC urges.

That’s because, while distribution is an incredibly diverse business, much of the industry “is under siege, not only because of the smaller nature of many wholesalers, but because channel diversification is bringing competitors that are not traditional wholesalers to the market.” Based on a survey of CIOs and IT business leaders with 146 US-based distributors, IDC concludes that “the ‘threat’ to wholesalers is much broader than simple historical competition from other wholesalers.”

When the going gets tough, the tough get benchmarked

The report goes deep on the business outlook for wholesale distribution, the role of technology investment in boosting long-term productivity and competitiveness, management priorities for new technology, and the importance distributors attach to different customer experience initiatives. It delivers valuable insights on the importance of merchandising and business planning tools and supply chain initiatives. And it digs into the technology renewal trends emerging across the global distribution marketplace.

All of which adds up to a report that any distribution executive can use to measure their own company’s technology performance and priorities against competitors and peers. And none too soon.

“To avoid being a laggard, IDC Manufacturing Insights strongly recommends moving away from legacy systems,” the report states. “The world is in the midst of a rapid technological evolution, and those companies that are not willing to evolve with it are at significant risk of obsolescence.” By contrast, “those that adapt are much better positioned to thrive now and into the future.”

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