I had a lunch with a distribution executive once and he explained that they didn’t conduct strategic planning because, “Who really knows what a strategic plan is, anyway?
” I’ve also heard – many times – “What’s the point of doing a strategic plan?
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In the strategic planning process, you need to decide how you will be different.
It takes a lot of hard work to come up with a great answer to this question and even more work to make that differentiation real.
Wikipedia defines core competencies this way: "A core competency is something that a firm can do well and that meets the following three conditions: Distributors often have core competencies related to assortment, product availability and technical expertise. The second component of a valid business strategy is a description of the industry or industries in which you intend to compete.
You need to determine (preferably through quality research) what benefits your customers crave and then build the competencies you need to provide them. If you don’t have great core competencies in digital capabilities, you’re falling behind. You need to be able to define just what kind of distributor you are: for example, do you define yourself by products (i.e., power transmission) or a customer segment (i.e., the education market)? This step sounds easy, but I find that distributors are often so concerned about getting too narrow in their focus that they fail to become really clear about what they want to do. Once people understand you, you can broaden your target over time.
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