MRO Magazine

Technology playing a huge role

Here are some advancements/ changes in the MRO market I have seen in the past 25 years.


December 1, 2010
By John Morrison

Here are some advancements/ changes in the MRO market I have seen in the past 25 years.

Although manufacturers and distributors continue to consolidate under the guise of ‘bigger is better’, the independents are still thriving. In fact, new independents quite often form out of acquisitions.

Independent distributors have focused on selling service and niche marketing as a way to combat the nationals. This has been a necessity as the margin opportunities are not what they used to be.

Technology has started to play a huge role in MRO as the benefits of EDI are taking root. At IDI, we have built an EDI hub that enables members and vendors to participate in ‘single order entry’, where an order doesn’t need to be rekeyed at the suppliers’ office. This elimination of redundancy in the order process far weighs the e-shop approach, where the distributor has to enter the order twice (once in their system and once on-line with the manufacturer).

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Electronic data storage has also emanated at the distributor level as well as at the manufacturer level. Distributor e-shops are now an effective way for end-users to place business with distributors online.

Importing at the distributor level as well as private labelling (as a way to gain back margin dollars) has been a strong trend in the past decade. Domestic suppliers are now much more interested in helping a distributor with their private label needs in order to retain/gain volume.

John Morrison is vice-president at IDI Independent Distributors Inc.


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