Distributor Analytics Essentials Series: What is Distributor Analytics?

Submitted on: Thu, 02.16.2017 12:21am - Annie Eissler |
Distributor Analytics Essentials Series: What is Distributor Analytics?

What exactly is ‘distributor analytics’ and how is it different than analytics, or business intelligence, in general?

That is a good question!

Analytics, as a general concept, is pretty high-level and abstract. It’s simply the examination of raw data so you can draw some conclusions from it.

Distributor analytics, on the other hand, is much more specific. It’s about examining data sets that are very common to distribution companies so that conclusions and decisions related to this kind of business can be made.

Consider this type of general line of thought:

“Analytics can be very useful when certain functional areas of a business would benefit from higher visibility into certain key metrics.”

As compared to this distributor-specific line of thought:

“When purchasing can see the full 360-degree lifecycle of a product over the last 12 months, they can make much better decisions about how to solve slow moving inventory problems.”


“When sales reps can see their open orders and open quotes, they can better plan their customer outreach when they come in each day.”

Distributor analytics combines both tools and content designed specifically for distributors. It presents relevant, distributor-specific information in the best possible way.

Unlike a generic reporting or business intelligence solution, distributor analytics pulls the data out of a distributor’s operational business systems (think ERP, CRM, WMS), normalizes or converts it into a format that is accessible for any user (even the most non-technical of staff), and empowers anyone in a distribution business to use operational performance data to make better decisions around issues that are unique to the business of distribution. 

Another benefit of distributor analytics over basic reporting? By normalizing your data and making it accessible via dashboards, analytics can be used to broadcast and track your goals, and also codify your company’s best practices.

So, how can distributor analytics help my business? By:

  • Aligning your company around a shared set of goals
  • Validating (or correcting) your gut instinct about what is happening in your business
  • Ensuring everyone is working from the same set of data
  • Speeding up time to decision by eliminating manual report writing (or dependence on others)
  • Finding problems and opportunities you may not have realized are there
  • Planning for the future more accurately by knowing what has happened in the past, and is happening in the present
  • Improving customer engagement, service levels, and satisfaction

And that is just scratching the surface. 

In our next blog post in this series, we’ll share insights on how distributor analytics can help you save, and make, money. Look for this post on our blog on February 22, 2017.

We also invite you to learn more about distributor analytics by joining us on March 7, 2017 for a free webinar where we will dive deeper into this topic.