2021: Distribution Management’s balanced business model has helped it overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past 18 months. While demand on the Supplies Network (SN) imaging supplies business declined as offices across North America were shut, its DM Fulfillment (DMF) division enjoyed a huge spike as e-commerce spend surged.
When Amazon restricted its products to necessities in the early days of the pandemic, DMF stepped in to enable sellers to be able to ship items to customers. More recently, in September 2021, as Amazon reduced inventory levels in its fulfilment centres, DMF partnered with digital commerce specialists to offer a comprehensive Fulfillment by Merchant solution for third-party sellers on Amazon.
On the print side, there has been a recovery as offices begin to reopen, although volumes are not back up to their pre-pandemic levels. There are also challenges in the supply chain to contend with, with both hardware and consumables in short supply.
There has been some uplift in A3 for SN as OEMs push product through the distribution channel to enable resellers to purchase items just in time. Another tailwind has been the rise of e-commerce and increasing demand for barcode printers. Last year, SN launched a managed service called barcode SELECT – this allows resellers to tap into the growing thermal barcoding supplies market.
2019: Year-to-date performance for Distribution Management (DM) has been quite strong according to CEO Sean Fleming.
Strategic plans and investments in new product categories are generating significant organic growth and are paying dividends, with company-wide efforts pointing towards revenue gains in excess of 15% over 2018 – a record year of sales.
The Supplies Network division within parent company DM remains highly committed to print specialisation with a focus on equipment, supplies, thermal/industrial imaging and MPS categories, while its DM Fulfillment Services division has experienced significant growth in the omnichannel fulfilment arena.
Plans for the current year and into 2020 include aggressive expansion of three of their five distribution centres, the first of which was the Northeast facility in Carlisle (PA), completed in September, where capacity is now over four times that of the old facility. Likewise, the next two upgrades in Dallas (TX) and St Louis (MO) will include a significant upgrade in space and throughput capability thanks to the latest technology in automation and robotics.
The business takes pride in its commitment to providing a high-quality work experience for its employees. New for 2019 is the implementation of the FISH! Philosophy, a culture enhancement programme derived from the famous Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle (WA). The scheme focuses on driving high energy, collaboration and fun in the workplace and has been well received throughout the company.
2018: Sean Fleming, CEO of Distribution Management (DM), remains committed to the strategic growth goals established over the past few years including an aggressive diversification of products, services and channels.
Once primarily a ‘toner & ink’ company, DM now has strong roots planted in equipment, printer/copier parts and barcoding technologies through its Supplies Network division and fulfilment services through its DM Fulfillment division – which, unlike many fulfilment companies, has programmes to help brands drive revenue. The non-toner and ink business of DM now represents 25% of the organisation’s gross profit compared to just 1% five years ago.
Through the first half of 2018, DM has achieved single-digit sales growth year over year, a sign that its strategies and related execution have been effective. DM expects to close 2018 with a new historical revenue record, exceeding the previous revenue record from 2017.
The company is now Lexmark’s largest distributor, and in May was awarded Authorised (Tier 1) distribution of HP Inc A3 copier products, A4 M-series printers and HP Samsung products.
Looking to the future, DM will continue to closely observe evolving market trends driven by consumers, resellers and manufacturers and seek opportunities to add value to its supply chain partners.
2017: Distribution Management (DM) attributes its continued growth to three major initiatives: focus on reseller partner growth; introduction of new product categories within the imaging space; strategies aimed at gaining market share.
Fleming says the Supplies Network division of DM remains highly focused on evolving its position as a comprehensive print and imaging distributor and significant growth is now being realised in adjacent categories such as equipment, printer/copier parts, barcoding technologies and services.
In fact, one of its fastest growing segments is equipment, which has seen revenue growth of 75% YTD versus 2016. Meanwhile, its managed print and equipment-related services is growing at a faster rate than its transactional business.
DM Fulfillment continues to be an evolving business under the DM umbrella and is busy establishing expertise in vertical markets including apparel and consumer packaged goods.
2016: Distribution Management (DM) is tracking well in year-to-date performance and is executing upon its 2016 plans. With both the Supplies Network and DM Fulfillment divisions meeting revenue and profitability expectations, DM expects a strong finish for 2016 and for that trend to continue into 2017.
Supplies Network, DM’s wholesale division, continues to gain strong market share resulting in first half revenue growth over same period last year. MPS and equipment continue to be among the biggest growth drivers with uplift well into the double digits. In addition, significant refinement in the structure of both sales and customer service — based on the needs of specific channels and market segments — are having positive impact in efficiencies as well as service levels, the company says.
As well as growing within the core document imaging products category, Supplies Network is expanding into adjacencies such as thermal/barcode imaging with the introduction of Zebra supplies and is in the process of entering the 3D printing space with MakeShaper, a 3D filament line.
In late December of 2015, DM Fulfillment (third party fulfilment division launched in 2012) acquired Premier Distribution Management, a Chicago-based third party logistics provider specialising in both inbound and outbound international distribution. This acquisition fuelled rapid growth and within the past year, DM has increased capacity with warehousing expansions in the Midwest and east coast. In addition, investments in additional warehouse locations are planned for 2017.
Overall, Fleming says the company will continue to focus on controlled, profitable growth of both divisions for the remainder of 2016 and into 2017. He adds that with sales reaching new highs and investments in additional capacity, the company is also investing in people resulting in the head count reaching new heights.
Finally, while there are no acquisitions planned for the remainder of 2016, the company is keeping a constant eye open for opportunities that closely align with its business model.
2015 : A year of development and expansion for Distribution Management (DM) and its divisions Supplies Network and DM Fulfillment.
The company has seen the development of new channels, the expansion of the imaging hardware category, and diversification within the imaging/marking arena through the addition of new product lines and continued investment in managed print services (MPS).
According to CEO Sean Fleming, this strategy will continue into the future, with further consideration for potential acquisitions and plans for additional distribution centre expansion late 2016 or early 2017.
While DM’s overall 2015 sales growth was expected to be in the low single digits, Supplies Network’s MPS business was expected to grow well into double digits, offsetting some loss in traditional core transactional business. The MPS growth has also supported healthy increases in printer hardware sales over the year, a trend DM expects to continue.
Overall, Fleming is highly optimistic about the future, particularly with the executive team focused on radical expansion of the business with new products, services and channels.