Results of Industrial Distribution magazine's 62nd Annual Survey of Distributor Operations show 72 percent of responding distributors now are doing business globally or plan to start in the next three years. This figure is up from the 69 percent who responded similarly last year. Industrial Distribution and Purchasing are both published by the same company.
Distributors are both importing and exporting goods and services, according to the study's findings. Seventy-six percent of respondents are buying from sources located overseas, while 72 percent are selling to customers in other regions of the world.
In the same vein, nearly a quarter of the purchasing professionals polled by Purchasing on the strategic MRO buy earlier this year say they have started to source MRO goods and services from suppliers located overseas.
Results of Industrial Distribution's survey show 21 percent of distributors are opening branch locations in other countries. The majority of these, 82 percent, are setting up shop in Canada and Mexico. Asia (China, Southeast Asia and Japan) and Europe (the U.K., Germany, Italy and France) are other popular locales for new facilities, with 35 percent and 19 percent of distributors respectively making these choices. Respondents also are selecting sites in Eastern Europe, India and South/Latin America to expand their businesses.
Distributors are looking East mainly because their customers are moving operations there. In fact, 54 percent of distributors, an increase from 45 percent a year ago, say they are following customers to China.
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