The new NAW DREF publication, “Driving Growth and Shareholder Value: The Distribution Value Map” is a sensational new tool that I encourage all distributors to look into. Even though I knew about the project through its development (I'm on the DREF Board), I was blown away when the final product was delivered.

The book and companion “Map” (which is really like a cutaway peek into the inside of the ideal wholesaler's business mind) are tools that you'll be able to share with all of your senior managers. You can target specific areas of your business, and identify a multitude of “drivers,” “levers” and “actions” (otherwise known as strategies or tactics) that will enable you to achieve improvement in those areas. The second Map that's included in the package serves to chart your company's own navigation through your chosen objectives.

Laid out graphically as it is, the Map makes tremendous sense, particularly to an obsessive-compulsive person like me who likes to see things organized and at right angles. However, taken together with the book and the involvement of a company's senior management team, it's much more than just a pretty, if complex chart. It's a whole new way of approaching improvement in your business.

Whether you want to target growing your revenues, improving your operating margins, getting more out of your assets or even improving your own expectations, the DVM is worth a look.