January 15, 2021
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Top Story
United Natural Foods CEO Steve Spinner says the food distributor is well-positioned to boost its share in the wholesale market by cross-selling, offering private brands and running e-commerce operations for retailers, among other efforts. Spinner, who retires in July, also told investors at the recent ICR Conference that "[w]e are transforming the way in which food gets from its point of manufacture and, ultimately, to the retailers."
Full Story: Supermarket News (free registration) (1/13) 
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Operations and Technology
The trucking industry should benefit this year from increased demand and the delivery of the coronavirus vaccine, say Donnie Williams of the University of Arkansas and Shannon Newton, president of the Arkansas Trucking Association. Ongoing challenges include high insurance costs and a lack of drivers and trucks.
Full Story: Talk Business & Politics (Little Rock, Ark.) (1/13) 
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2020 Hindsight
What did leading Fortune 500 Brands do to take on 2021 and manage ‘ops-down’ to each associate? Learn about the one gap they once had in common and different approaches taken to close that gap. #2020Hindsight Register for the Webinar
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Sales and Marketing
Distributors should consider short-term changes to price floors and add an extra review of per-customer pricing revisions to ensure margins don't suffer, writes George Dunham, CEO of epaCUBE. The best approach, he argues, is for leaders to spend more time with sales teams on pricing review, which is an infrequent activity at best for many companies.
Full Story: Modern Distribution Management (tiered subscription model) (1/13) 
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Business-to-business marketers should consider the opportunity to boost positive brand awareness and reputation through green, sustainable policies, Jack Bird writes. Bird recommends spotlighting green credentials via supplier scorecards and gaining accreditation from a green organization to bolster campaigns focused on sustainable efforts.
Full Story: MarketingProfs (free registration) (1/13) 
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It's up to salespeople to get buyers to focus on total cost of ownership instead of just the lowest initial price possible, writes David Brock. Discuss maintenance, training, support, business outcomes and other factors to help prospects understand the big picture, Brock suggests.
Full Story: Partners in Excellence Blog (1/13) 
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[SmartSummit] 2021 Manufacturing Trends
This year is shaping up to be a year of advancement for US manufacturing. This Jan. 27th online event will explore: why 2021 looks hopeful for manufacturers, steps to (and challenges of) profitability, key strategies for success, and how relationship building is changing and why it is essential. Register today
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The Business Leader
Many employees will be skeptical or fearful of COVID-19 vaccines, and while employers can require vaccinations, they'll succeed more with strong, empathetic and clear communication that aligns with employee well-being, public health communications and company policies, writes Inspire PR Group founder Hinda Mitchell. "Going in with a 'vaccinate or else' message is sure to fail, while a well-crafted set of messages will build a favorable climate for future vaccination requirements," she writes.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Leadership (1/13) 
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When employees are feeling "stuck, struggling or successful," leaders should be able to reframe stories to provide hope, encouragement and motivation, writes Mark Sanborn. "Sometimes people need to be resold on themselves; to hear the encouragement from someone they know and trust that they can do it," he writes.
Full Story: Mark Sanborn (1/11) 
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NAW Insider
NAW Digital Summit: Register by today to get a special gift box
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Don't miss NAW's first-ever Digital Summit, Jan. 27-28. Register by Jan. 15 and receive a special gift box from NAW that includes items for you to use on each day! The NAW Digital Summit is focused on helping you lead through a time of transition. You'll hear from distribution CEOs, network with your peers, get the 2021-22 economic forecast, find out what the Biden agenda means for distribution, plus much more. Use special 5- and 10-pack registrations to bring your team!
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Register for free NAW Webinar Jan. 21: Strategic Change During Disruption
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In this capstone webinar for the NAW Series: How Technology Will Transform Wholesale Distribution, Ian Heller and Jonathan Bein will summarize what they learned from the research conducted with distributors, suppliers and customers. They'll provide a roadmap forward: a specific set of recommendations on the strategic actions that the distribution industry -- and individual companies -- should take to fend off competitors, outflank the disruptors and prepare to take market share and improve profitability. Register for this free Jan. 21 webinar at 2 p.m. Eastern. Sponsored by Unilog and PROS.
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Solving problems for your customers is more important now than ever before
(NAW)
Old school distribution is about stocking inventory, taking orders and serving demand. New school distribution is about innovating through customer services and working side-by-side with customers in the real world. The future of distribution is about solving problems in your customer's business -- often before your customer even knows a problem exists. Innovate to Dominate provides breakthrough ideas, lessons from leading distributors who are innovating and inspiration to help you lead your customers into the future and sustain your competitive advantage.
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Editor's Note
SmartBrief will not publish Monday
In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, SmartBrief will not publish Monday. Publication will resume Tuesday.
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