To say that change has overtaken the distribution industry - OEM, MRO, and retail - is an understatement. Several forces have converged to provoke these changes; particularly advances in supply chain management, electronic commerce, and technology. Still other catalysts for change include a trend toward outsourcing, increased globalization, imperatives to lower total costs, the need to reduce risk, and the consolidation of fragmented markets. To answer the challenge of change, distributors will have to concentrate on providing more value-added services to their customers including quality systems, supplier-managed inventories, just-in-time inventories, consignment inventory programs, consolidated monthly invoicing, global shipping and delivery capabilities, and electronic commerce opportunities.
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