MRO Magazine

PT/MC distributors’ sales and gross margins experienced growth in 2008

Chicago, IL -- The Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) recently announced the results of its 2009 PT...

Chicago, IL — The Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) recently announced the results of its 2009 PT Distributor Performance Report (based on 2008 data). Revealing the profit challenges and opportunities in the power transmission/motion control (PT/MC) industry, the report indicates that the typical PT/MC distributor experienced an increase in gross margins but slower sales growth than anticipated at the beginning of the year.


When asked in October 2007 to forecast sales for 2008, just over 50% of distribution firms anticipated growth in sales of between 5.0% and 14.9%. The actual sales growth rate for the median PTDA distributor, as reported in the 2009 PT Distributor Performance Report, was lower than anticipated at 1.7%.



As for gross margins, 80% forecasted growth in gross margins in the range of 0.0 to 1.9%. According to the data collected for the PT Distributor Performance Report, gross margins as a per cent of net sales beat expectations with an increase of 3.0%.


The 2009 PT Distributor Performance Report also provides a comparison of the median ‘high profit’ distribution firm versus the median ‘typical’ firm. The results suggest the most successful firms continue to exhibit critical profit variables well above those of the typical firm.


– With respect to the bottom line, the typical PTDA distributor member generated pre-tax profit of 4.1% on annual sales of $30.1 million, compared to high-profit firms that produced an average profit of 6.8% on sales of $44.6 million.


– While the typical firm experienced an increase of 1.7% in sales in 2008, high-profit distributors reported a 3.7% gain in sales growth over the same period.


– High-profit firms reported a pre-tax return on assets (ROA) of 20.4%, while the typical PT/MC distributor reported ROA of only 11.9%.


The PT Distributor Performance Report, conducted annually for PTDA by Profit Planning Group of Boulder, CO,, is a compilation of operational statistics from 49 PTDA members throughout North America. This resource examines five-year distributor performance trends in return on investment, income statement, and balance sheet line items and examines financial ratios, asset productivity ratios, growth and cash sufficiency ratios and employee productivity ratios.


Data is reported for typical PT/MC distributors and high-profit firms (top 25% of firms based on ROA). Data also is reported for five U.S. regions (Eastern, Southern, Midwest, South Central and Western) and Canada, and four sales volume categories, ranging from less than $10 million to over $75 million.


Additional breakouts include machinery, repair and operations (MRO) emphasis versus original equipment manufacturer (OEM) emphasis, and product mix (percentage of sales by bearings, power transmission and other).


The report is designed for distributors seeking information to benchmark their company’s performance against that of the industry as well as manufacturers looking to obtain insight into the operational and business needs of their distributors.

The report is available for purchase to PTDA members for US$169.95 and to non-members for $299.95. For more information, contact PTDA at 312-516-2100 or visit