A new study by Adam J. Fein, president of Pembroke Consulting, finds that wholesalers and manufacturers differ significantly on their views regarding the future of e-business. According to the report, titled Facing the Forces of Change: Future Scenarios for Wholesale Distribution, 56% of manufacturers surveyed expect online exchanges to generate loyal customers by 2006, while 60% of distributors express serious doubts that online exchanges will attract customers.

The study, funded by the Distribution Research and Education Foundation of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, is based on 1,600 responses from manufacturers, distributors and customers across 50 different industries and 75 in-depth interviews with leading supply chain and distribution channel experts.

The report provides four distinct scenarios of the future of B2B distribution channels and supply chains. Each scenario models the supply chain and marketing channels under varying assumptions about the functions of intermediaries, the mix of online and off-line activity, customer adoption rates, manufacturer channel strategies, and the compensation model for supply chain participants.

Wholesalers are uncertain about whether their manufacturers will invest in traditional channels during the next five years, Fein said. The survey found that 44% of distributors expect manufacturers to take significant measures to help them become more effective in the channel, while 34% believe manufacturers are unlikely to make such investments.

This study will be discussed in a keynote session at the American Supply Association's annual convention in Las Vegas by J. Michael Marks, president and co-founder of Indian River Consulting Group. An expanded program will be offered from 1:45 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24.

To order the study, Facing the Forces of Change: Future Scenarios for Wholesale Distribution, visit www.nawpubs.org and receive a 5% discount for online purchases.