Optimizing Human Capital Development

Achieving Distribution Competitive Advantage through People:
Best Practices in Acquiring, Developing, Managing and Retaining Talent


The NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence and Texas A&M University’s Industrial Distribution Program maintain an alliance dedicated to further the understanding and application of best practices in wholesale distribution. This alliance operates through the Council for Research on Distributor Best Practices (CRDBP). The mission of the CRDBP is to create competitive advantage for wholesaler-distributors through development of research, tools, and education. Read more >

The Council for Research on Distributor Best Practices will conduct its 2014 consortium on Optimizing Human Capital Development. Following the very successful Optimizing Channel Compensation and Optimizing Growth and Market Share consortia, this initiative will conduct research to develop practical methodologies and tools to optimize recruiting, training and retaining human capital. A two-day educational session will be developed based on the resulting knowledge, methodology and tools.

The speed at which most distribution firms can grow (profitably) doesn’t solely depend on the distributor’s geographic reach, physical assets, product selection, access to capital or innovative services. It depends on its human resources. Human resources are the most significant factor in distributor success. Not on the balance sheet and only listed on the profit and loss statement as an expense, the value of human resources within a company is often underestimated. Distributors have expended tremendous energy in optimizing operations with information technology, facility development, inventory control, transportation management, and so forth. Human resources are often left behind due to a lack of resources for training, a poor understanding of the return-on- investment (ROI) for human resources development, and the perception that people are more expendable than other assets within the business.

Wholesaler-Distributors often struggle with recruiting, developing and retaining sales talent. They also experience challenges with developing a leadership pipeline for growth and succession. Successful distributors understand the importance of acquiring, developing, motivating and retaining talented employees, but often struggle to develop and implement successful programs.

Texas A&M University has developed a consortium in alliance with the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence that will investigate how distributors can optimize their human resources.

Why Join a Research Consortium?

Many times companies cannot afford to invest in some research and development due to high cost and/or lack of knowledge resources required to conduct the research. Research Consortia are an economical path to low-cost, high-quality research and development that is essential to the growth of companies. Consortia also allow for the sharing of best practices and strategies among the cutting-edge organizations that invest in such efforts.

Who Should Join this Research Consortium?

This Research Consortium will be beneficial to:

  • WholesalerDistributors, Manufacturers who go to market through Wholesaler-Distributors
  • Technology Providers who serve WholesalerDistributors and Manufacturers.

What Are the Benefits?

Consortium members will:

  • Have the opportunity to actively participate in groundbreaking research in one of the most crucial and timely challenges facing the industry and receive results, methodology and tools.
  • Be able to direct the scope of the research so that the results are actionable and sustainable.
  • Have anmonth head start on competitors in understanding and implementing the new best practices developed in this consortium as well as a far deeper understanding of the best practices from workshops conducted directly with their organizations by the research team.
  • Have the opportunity to send up topeople from their organizations to one of the two educational programs delivered at Texas A&M University for no cost other than travel expenses during the 2015 sessions. The educational programs will be scheduled following the conclusion of the research.

Value to Members

  • Distributors and manufacturers will gain competitive advantage by implementing the scientific Optimizing Human Capital Development methods and using the tools developed to maximize value propositions.
  • Technology companies will gain the knowledge base, methods and tools that can be implemented in their systems.


In addition to the body of knowledge resulting from this research, consortium members will receive the following tangible outcomes:

  • An implementation strategy, tools and methodologies for member firms to optimize their human capital development, specific to each company, based on workshops conducted with their teams
  • A oneday workshop at Texas A&M
  • A twoday educational seminar aimed at providing firms with knowledge about how they can apply the concepts, tools and techniques identified in the research
  • free seats in the educational program that follows.

Consortium Deliverables

Consortium members will participate directly in the research and gain a better understanding of the findings. The full report will be issued to each consortium member with all analysis performed on the firm itself with the firm’s own data. Direct recommendations will be made for individual participating firm on:

  • Developing and using distributor organization development methods and tools
  • Creating a human capital development plan, processes and metrics
  • Implementing and measuring human capital development interventions, programs and activities
  • All tools created to complete the study and analysis for the study.
    • All consortium member company results and data shared with researchers will be kept confidential. Only general findings and best practices will be shared with other consortium members. Distributors will benefit from the research findings and from sharing best practices with other cutting-edge firms in the consortium. Manufacturers will benefit from a shared strategy development study with the distribution community.

      Consortium Structure and Fees

      The membership fee is $25,000 per company in this consortium. The fee will cover attendance in consortium meetings hosted by the Global Supply Chain Laboratory at Texas A&M University and workshops with member firms to design the research solutions personalized to their needs.


      August 2013 – April 2014 : Consortium Marketing and Registration
      April 2014 : Consortium Kick-off
      March – July 2014 : Process Development
      April – October 2014 : Individual Workshops
      Thursday, August 14, 2014 : 6-8 PM, Networking Dinner
      Friday, August 15, 2014 : 8 AM-3 PM, Kickoff Meeting
      August – Dec 2014 : Best Practices and Tools Development
      January – March 2015 : Documenting Best Practices
      April / May 2015 : Final Meeting
      August / September 2015 : Education Sessions