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How Industrial Distributors Can Realize the Potential of Digital Transformation

In today's business environment, digital transformation is more than just a hot buzzword. Though it can mean very different things to different people and organizations, ultimately digital transformation is a strategic opportunity for growth.

In the context of industrial distribution and technology, digital transformation isn't just about implementing the newest, innovative tech. – it's about examining how people work and communicate. As a distributor, you need to be able to keep up with the pace of technological and operational changes or risk losing out on important business opportunities.

Whether a company chooses to restructure its business model to drive growth or implement a new ERP software to increase efficiency, these are just minor facets that contribute to the full realm of digital transformation possibilities a company can realize today.

Is digital transformation the catalyst your business needs to become more efficient and effective? Below we’ve identified three steps to consider on your path to digital transformation.

1. Define your digital transformation strategy

A major obstacle to digital transformation is the lack of a clear strategy. There are many potential technology projects, but not every project will contribute to transforming your business.

When you are deciding which strategic projects to take on, such as a new ERP solution, it is important to start with two questions:

  1. What are the business outcomes your organization wants to achieve? 
  2. How will this project help solve that problem?

One question defines the opportunity for growth, while the other identifies the potential technological solution. Once you have outlined the problems and solutions, you can map out all your proposed projects against these criteria. Which ones should be prioritized? Which ones do not align with your goals? Ultimately, these decisions will help direct your organization toward reaching its digital transformation goals.

2. Identify priority areas for your investment

You can get digital transformation wrong by investing too much in technologies that are not aligned with the organization's business strategy. 

Industrial distributors need to understand where their revenue is coming from, how it is being generated, and what they need to do to maintain this revenue stream. When investment decisions are made, such as investing in a new ERP solution, distributors should ensure that their technology initiatives are aligned with this strategy and partner with a provider that has a solid understanding of your industry.

The value of the information technology (IT) infrastructure within an organization is typically measured by factors such as operating costs, productivity gains, and compliance with industry standards. These provide a starting point for assessing the cost/benefit of different systems or assets that may need replacing or upgrading. However, these measures alone will not always highlight the areas where spending will deliver the greatest benefits.

One way to see the value of an investment is by calculating the ROI against industry trends.  If a new ERP system is in your future strategy, check out the value of that investment before buying.  At Tribute, we offer our prospective customers the opportunity to see the value of their investment through our proprietary ROI Calculator.  The ROI Calculator incorporates data gathered from industry trade associations such as AHTD, FPDA, NAHAD, NFPA, and PTDA, and is the first step in building a quantifiable business case and determining where you can derive business benefits, showing not only the financial benefits over a period of time but also the potential savings provided in increased employee productivity and improved processes.

In addition to quantifiable factors, businesses should also consider areas such as innovation capability, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement when prioritizing IT investment decisions. A balanced approach to prioritization will help ensure that businesses get maximum value from their investment in digital transformation initiatives.

3. Building internal skills to implement the strategy

The digital transformation journey begins with a clear understanding of what matters most to the business and how the organization can achieve its goals using new tools. Technology alone won't drive growth or innovation, but it is a key enabler that allows organizations to transform their operating models, processes, workflows, and information management systems.

The organizations that are most successful in digital transformation have built the core skills required to develop new capabilities, deploy technology, integrate systems, and change behaviors. They have invested heavily in people development by setting clear objectives for digital transformation, providing training, tools, and resources for employees to be successful in implementing new digital strategies. They have also taken steps to ensure the technology they are deploying is secure, reliable, and scalable so it doesn't become a hindrance rather than an enabler of business goals.

TrulinX Software by Tribute Can Bring Your Company to the Digital Transformation you Need to Grow Your Business

The industrial distribution industry has not yet fully transformed into a digital one, and in some cases, old school still prevails. However, if you’re still operating with the older generation management style or software that is not geared to help your business grow, then perhaps it is time to embrace new technology to transform your business.

Ask yourself these key questions:  Does my provider have an integrated e-commerce solution?  Do they partner with best-in-practice providers that offer solutions that will bring my company to the digital era? Are their key features built through a solid understanding of my industry?

Video Case Study

Tribute customer, Connector Specialist, a leading fluid system solution provider based in Louisiana, has mastered digital transformation with the help of our leading ERP system, TrulinX.  Transforming their data into visible displays throughout their building keeps the entire team informed at all times through built-in scorecards and status boards that align with their corporate objectives.

Watch their video case study where Alex Wheelock, president of Connector Specialists, talks about how TrulinX software from Tribute gives his company the edge to be one of the most successful fluid power distributors in Louisiana.


TrulinX is a specialized software that provides value-added and system integration services for industrial distributors and fabricators. Our software allows sales reps to save time and provide more competitive offers for customers thanks to a variety of key features.

The TrulinX platform was built with the future in mind because we know there is more than one way to run a company. One size doesn't fit all and we're creating a platform that is focused on your industry to help your business grow.

To learn more about the TrulinX software or to speak with one of our team members, give us a call today at 800-874-2883 or contact us directly.

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Tribute, Inc. is a provider of ERP business management software for distributors and system integrators in the fluid power, hose, motion control, automation, fluid handling & pump industry who provide value-added services.