Taking a Pulse—Strengthening Your Company’s Position


Who could forget the great recession of 2008 and 2009? On the heels of the worst economic crisis in recent history, I had the opportunity to give the keynote address to the membership of GAWDA (Gases and Welding Distributors Association) at its national convention in Hawaii (October 2010). I focused on a topic that I felt could benefit the GAWDA channel by analyzing the value proposition that end users were identifying and comparing it to the value proposition that distributors were delivering. 

My speech was based on the results of a survey of 652 participants, 439 end users, and 213 distributors that Miller Electric Mfg. Co. conducted in 2010. At the GAWDA convention, the survey results of our 652 respondents were met with mixed reactions. Some believed they made sense, while others thought I was only talking about the large nationals or perhaps their competition. Many, however, took the results to heart and focused on improving their relationships with end users by investing heavily in building the skill sets of their sales teams with training, strengthening relationships with their end users, and gaining a deeper understanding the end user’s needs.

The survey presentation that was shared in Hawaii was presented 52 times to individual distributors, nationals, and buying groups. Among distributors that have addressed their value proposition, the results we have seen firsthand are heartening. We clearly can see them adding value—which was the purpose of the survey—and in so doing, these distributors are helping our channel partners get stronger and gain better position in the marketplace.

The 2012 Survey 

Last year, 892 individuals participated in a second survey, whose purpose was the same as our initial survey in 2010, that is, to gauge the value proposition being delivered by our channel partners to the end users. We focused on determining if there was a gap in the value proposition that was being “delivered” by distributors versus the value being “perceived” by the end users. Survey participants included 636 end users and 256 distributors.

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