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2014 Critical Impact Factors

1 While the overall economic outlook is predicted for slow growth, certain industry segments will be experiencing high growth opportunities. For example, the Engineered Systems industry is poised for growth with much of this due to the increase of e-commerce and goods-to-person automation.

2 There is a trend toward more local and regional distribution centers. Consumers are driving this because of demand for one day or same day delivery.

3 Customers are seeking more real time tracking information and supply chain visibility. Members must be aware of and supportive of this trend.

4 Manufacturers who can reduce lead-time and deliver a quality product will have a competitive advantage and will emerge as the market leaders.

5 In spite of high unemployment, skilled and talented employees are still difficult to recruit. The aging workforce is going to compound this problem. Members must be committed to the internal development of their people and also be prepared to modify their organizational culture when transitioning to a younger generation of employees.

6 Retention of top performers is critical and steps must be in place to motivate and develop existing employees.

There is a continued trend toward consolidation and factory owned distributors in the industrial truck marketplace.

8 More consultants and third-party management companies are working with end users on equipment acquisition, maintenance and fleet management.

9 Customer demands and requirements for safety compliance and government regulations (building permits, life safety, contractor licensing) are becoming more complex, costly and often need to be customized for each end user.

10 The distributor sales team must have the knowledge and skill set to educate and effectively communicate to the C level executive about emerging technologies and how specific solutions can improve ROI.

11 To build loyalty and trust, distributors must provide the customer with value-added services. This provides a way for distributors to serve as vendor partners and uncover additional opportunities.

12 Members need to develop a strategy to utilize, implement and measure the benefits of web technologies, mobile apps, online marketing and social media as business development tools.

13 As owners anticipate the transition of their businesses, they must be prepared with a succession plan.