June 8, 2021
The last few years have tested even the strongest links in our supply chains. Increasingly, master wholesalers have stepped in to reinforce weakened networks, acting as inventory buffers and partners in category optimization. Larry Davis, CEO and founder of AgoNow LLC, chats with Jason about his role as an industrial master wholesaler and channel solutions provider. Larry details AgoNow’s attractive value proposition and how it’s driving the digitization of the industrial channel, helping distributors/resellers and manufacturers grow their profitably.
“A lot of customers, a lot of suppliers, want to do something different. And so, in mid-2016, we launched. AgoNow,” says Larry, a veteran of the distribution space, of the impetus for his company’s founding. “We wanted to create a digital partner that could help people do the things they couldn't and connect dots in ways that weren't being connected.”
Master distribution was born out of market inefficiencies, giving distributors access to extensive inventories without needing to meet the high minimums set by many brands and manufacturers. Master distributors take on the risks associated with those transactions, so distributors are free to order only what they need.
In a rapidly changing market environment, fewer inventory worries can provide distributors in the industrial space with greater agility. “This market is in the middle of a major shift that's going to change the face of it dramatically, and it's going to require all of us to pivot multiple times,” says Larry, adding that gone are the days of if you have it in stock, customers will come calling. “You need collaborations with people that can tell you here's the product I'm going to need all the time, and I need you to have it all the time.” He cites Amazon as an example of a highly efficient ecosystem that should act as a wake-up call. “The demands on our ability to service the customer just grew exponentially.”
Larry sees the behemoth online marketplaces as applying the sort of pressure that’s good for the post-COVID supply chain. Master wholesalers like AgoNow are driving innovation, shortening lead times, managing multiple manufacturer relationships, and advising distributors with market knowledge so they can adapt more quickly to customer trends. “[It’s] a good thing for the end-users because they're going to get better service and get better productivity. That makes our manufacturing and our contractors more competitive in a global landscape that's very competitive today.”
“The days of we're going to stock it, and they will come are rapidly going away.”
“If you have the market knowledge, you can stock to the strength of the consumption.”
“You remember the old adage ‘Let your customer buy the way they want.’ That's all fun and games until they want to do it in a digital way that you can't do.”
“We have customers that set up their account online, they transact with us [and] we've never personally spoken with them––and they're great customers. And so, I think you have to be agile and flexible to let that digital journey be what they want it to be.”
“If Amazon taught us anything, it's that a platform can be a strong strategy, and it can be a strategic advantage.”
“I think we're in the middle of another manufacturing renaissance because of the shortage of supplies and people.”
“The next age is the age of collaboration, right? It is who do you work with? There's gotta be people you can trust. They got to be people you can truly outsource components of your business to that can do it better than you.”
Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.
This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.
Special thanks to our sponsor for this episode: HMI Performance Incentives, providing innovative, data-driven B2B incentive solutions.