NORTHFIELD, Ill. - When it comes to making decisions that impact sales performance and profitability, manufacturers and distributors are not on the same page, according to a new study from Industrial Performance Group (IPG) Inc. The research reveals that the difference in how manufacturers and distributors think and make decisions has had a significant impact on revenue.

The conclusion was drawn from a one-year study of 115 manufacturers and 132 distributors from various industry segments. The research follows IPG's four-year study of more than 2,500 manufacturers and distributors called "Report Card Update," completed and published in 2001.

"Throughout 2003 we worked to identify the barriers that keep manufacturers and distributors from taking action to change the nature of their working relationships," said Robert Nadeau, managing principal of IPG. "While it may be a hard proposition to accept, the greatest barrier to better working relationships stems from differences in how manufacturers and distributors think and make decisions."

During the course of the year, manufacturers and distributors answered questions about current and future conditions in the industry, who their customers are, the basis of competition, and the purpose and role of the manufacturer and distributor working relationships.

"What we discovered is that manufacturers and distributors are more likely to disagree on these topics than they are to agree," said Nadeau.

According to IPG, the most significant finding in the study is that both manufacturers and distributors overwhelmingly agree that their working relationships lack common goals and clearly defined plans.

For more information about the study, contact IPG at 800-867-2778 or

Publication date: 03/29/2004