NAW Collaboration

In January 2009, the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence and Texas A&M University’s Industrial  Distribution Program launched an alliance dedicated to furthering the understanding and application of best practices in wholesale distribution. In doing so, the NAW Institute and Texas A&M combine the research and brand power of two well-known organizations serving wholesaler-distributors. Together, the NAW Institute and Texas A&M have formed a new entity—the Council for Research on Distributor Best Practices or CRDBP.

The field of wholesale distribution continues to experience dramatic change. Distributors have faced challenges in the form of expanding service offerings, pricing pressure, cost controls, and spiraling logistics costs for many years. For more than 50 years, the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence has provided cutting-edge research and publications for sharing best practices. As the field of distribution continues to become more competitive, the need for higher levels of research to identify and document new best practices becomes ever greater.

The CRDBP is dedicated to furthering the understanding and application of best practices in wholesale distribution. The mission of the CRDBP will be to assist wholesaler-distributors and their suppliers through creating strategies for competitive advantage.

About the NAW Institute

Since January 31, 2007, the work of the Distribution Research and Education Foundation (DREF) is being carried out by a new organization: the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence.

How did this transformation come to be?

NAW conducted market research during 2006 and what we discovered really caught our attention. Our surveys told us that — despite DREF’s highly regarded work since 1967 in publishing wholesale distribution industry reports like Facing the Forces of Change — the Foundation’s visibility within the wholesale distribution industry is limited.

Why are we making this change?

We’re doing so to more clearly identify our research activities with NAW, which that same market research showed as having very high and positive brand awareness among wholesaler-distributors and other interested parties. And we’ve created the NAW Institute to more clearly focus on the intended outcome of our research — excellence in distribution.

The NAW Institute combines the research-focused work of DREF with the output of the NAW Publishing Program. The result will be a single, focused unit [still a 501c(3) not-for-profit educational foundation] that provides the highest level of industry-wide research and education to complement and supplement the educational efforts of NAW’s member associations. Learn more about the NAW Institute’s research priorities.

While our name and some of our activities are changing, the Mission remains the same:

“To sponsor and disseminate research into strategic management issues affecting the wholesale distribution industry. The NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence aims to help merchant wholesaler-distributors remain the most effective and efficient channel in distribution.”

What else is on the front burner for the NAW Institute?

The NAW Institute’s best projects will be those that industry executives bring to us because those are the projects that will solve real-world business problems. Learn more about submitting a proposal to the NAW Institute.

If you have questions about the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence Publishing Program, please contact Ruth Stadius, Director of Communications, at