Episode 28: Is The Distributor Still Relevant In Today’s Supply Chain?

Supply chains are very complex entities. We saw what happened to supply chain infrastructure early in 2020 and, more recently, we’ve seen how supply chains have struggled to get up and running fast enough to meet surging demand.

Because there are so many moving parts in a chain, it’s worth questioning if every component is necessary at a time when raw material costs are spiking and cost control is more important than ever.

One of the moving parts that may come under scrutiny is that of the distributor. We’re living in an age where e-commerce has proven its worth and, if supply chain managers are looking for redundancy, perhaps the bricks and mortar distributor is expendable.

In this episode, we examine the relevance of distributors through the thoughts and comments of David Morley, Gerent’s V.P. of Manufacturing Practice and Mike Simon, partner in Gerent Digital and someone with an extensive background in logistics and supply chain processes

Is The Distributor Still Relevant In Today’s Supply Chain?

Supply chains are very complex entities. We saw what happened to supply chain infrastructure early in 2020 and, more recently, we’ve seen how supply chains have struggled to get up and running fast enough to meet surging demand.

Because there are so many moving parts in a chain, it’s worth questioning if every component is necessary at a time when raw material costs are spiking and cost control is more important than ever.

One of the moving parts that may come under scrutiny is that of the distributor. We’re living in an age where e-commerce has proven its worth and, if supply chain managers are looking for redundancy, perhaps the bricks and mortar distributor is expendable.

In this episode, we examine the relevance of distributors through the thoughts and comments of David Morley, Gerent’s V.P. of Manufacturing Practice and Mike Simon, partner in Gerent Digital and someone with an extensive background in logistics and supply chain processes.


Topics covered during this episode include: 

01:52 – Is the distributor redundant?

03:39 – The pros and cons of a direct to customer role for the manufacturer

07:08 – Where distributors really add value for the manufacturer and the customer

19:39 – Rather than eliminate them, manufacturers benefit enormously by supporting distributors

Episode Guests:

David Morley

Manufacturing Practice Lead, Gerent

David Morley is a 30-year manufacturing veteran and early Salesforce adopter. Over the course of his career, he has achieved international success in sales, marketing, operations, turnarounds, business development, startups, and strategic planning.


Mike Simon

Partner and Principal Consultant, Gerent Digital & DefinedLogic

Mike Simon is a business and IT practice leader with over 35 years of experience in business and IT transformation, process excellence, managed business, and IT services. He previously served as the CIO of a global logistics firm and as the Global Solution Executive for IBM IT Outsourcing. In his current role as a partner and principal consultant, he strives to help clients realize the value of their digital investments through brand development, creative design, customer experience design, engineering, and analytics.