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Did you know that wine and spirits wholesalers in the U.S. account for more than 70,000 jobs? Many of these jobs have been passed down within families, but the times are a-changin’. With consolidation in the industry and advancing technology, there’s no guarantee of employment to be passed down from generation to generation. But for those who want to stay in the family business, it’s important for the next generation to continuously improve their skills to advance their careers.

Tweet: 3 skills tomorrow’s distributor executives need to know

A recent Harvard Business Review article discussed how current family business owners should encourage the next generation to thrive in their companies. How can tomorrow’s distributor executives work to develop their careers within their family businesses? Here are three skills they need to know.

Skill #1: Analytics

Data and analytics help employees gain a better understanding of their businesses. Tomorrow’s executives will need to develop their analytical skills to incorporate business intelligence and analytics into their daily workflow. For example, executives will need analytics to determine which products are profitable, analyze the impact of a price change on profits, and generate revenue and general ledger reports.

Executives will also need to work with their operations department to monitor performance based on current data. They will need to analyze successful marketing initiatives and measure performance against their competitors. Analytics will help tomorrow’s distributor executives gain critical insights about their businesses, such as maximizing long-term business value, increasing family employment, and strategizing business growth, as described in the HBR article.

Skill #2: Data-driven mindset

As data becomes more available, it will be more important for employees to use it to gain insights, generate reports, and make decisions. Tomorrow’s executives will need to learn to think in a data-driven manner for analysis and reporting. It’s no longer enough to rely on gut feel. What does the data tell you?

Additionally, a data-driven mindset will help executives distinguish quality data from noise. This will achieve greater ownership in the data and result in increased data trust.

Skill #3: Ability to make executive decisions

The wine and spirits business is filled with intense competition and operates as “almost business-on-demand.” It’s a fast-paced industry; customers expect an order placed today will be delivered tomorrow. There is no room for error. Therefore, tomorrow’s executives need to be equipped with the skills to make fast executive decisions.

In order to grow the family business, executives will need to make important decisions about future employees. According to the Harvard Business Review article, they should be encouraged to find and hire the right staff who can understand technology and analytics as well as work to grow their businesses.

What’s next for tomorrow’s executives?

As technology and the role of data increase, it will be more important for wine and spirits businesses to adapt to the digital age. Tomorrow’s executives will need to understand technology, develop analytical skills and, think in a data-driven manner to keep them engaged and give their organizations a leg up in the industry.

Natalie Cantave

Natalie Cantave is a product marketing manager at Dimensional Insight. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology from Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.
Natalie Cantave