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Distributors Prepare For The New Normal

Lessons learned from the downturn have distributors ready to slice up a smaller pie.

As we do every January, The MHEDA Journal randomly polled several dozen MHEDA members across the United States to gather predictions about the coming year. We found MHEDA distributors to be generally optimistic about 2011, for reasons ranging from pent-up demand to technological advancements in equipment to improved employee training. Of course, these distributors know that many obstacles still must be overcome, including managing cash flow, the ever-rising costs of doing business and performing more work with less staff.

It is unlike MHEDA members to let a few challenges deter them, and 2011 will be no different in that regard. More than 90% of distributors interviewed predict a sales increase, some by as much as 60 percent. Not one distributor forecasts business to be down. Activity will be pulsing particularly throughout the West and Midwest, though all regions can expect substantial gains. The overall average increase is about 11.9%, with no significant differences across product groups.

After two years of hunkering down in survival mode, the industry is poised to recover. The new normal may include lower volumes, but optimism has definitely returned to the material handling business. It’s a good thing to hear.

2011 Industry Forecast:

Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association

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