MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill.— In a recent statement, R. James Alexy, CEO of Network Services Co., commented on distribution trends in the janitorial, foodservice, healthcare and manufacturing industries.
Network Services Co. is made up of more than 200 independent distributors of janitorial and sanitary supplies, foodservice disposables, industrial packaging and paper/printing products.
“The slowdown in housing construction has had minimal impact on the continuous need for janitorial services in office, retail, industrial, healthcare and institutional markets,” says Alexy. “The demand for cost-effective equipment and ‘green’ products remains strong, fueling the introduction of new products and expanding the need for distributor assistance in product selection, education, training and other services.”
Alexy also says that disposable paper and plastic products, as well as carryout packaging, will continue to be in demand as food chains become more popular. “Fast-causal outlets (Au Bon Pain, Chipotle, Potbelly, etc.) now account for approximately 9% of restaurant sales and are expected to grow at double the rate of the overall industry,” he adds. Touch-free paper-towel dispensers, faucets and soap dispensers are also growing in popularity.
“Distribution trends within the healthcare industry should remain relatively unchanged during the year ahead,” says Alexy. “Automated order entry and information systems for all healthcare products and maintenance supplies are improving efficiency and will eventually become the norm.”
Finally, “the transfer of manufacturing operations to other countries continues to impact the industrial packaging business, but independent distributors are gaining market share from manufacturers who sell direct by providing customized services such as package design, material reduction suggestions, and streamlined packaging processes,” Alexy says.
“To compete globally and better organize their spending, manufacturers with multiple locations in the U.S. and beyond are recognizing the value of using a multi-national distributor to consolidate their orders and leverage their purchasing power for more favorable terms,” he adds.