Industrial Distribution Overview

Industrial distribution is an $825 billion industry that generates millions of jobs in the United States and Canada.

In order to grow, the industry needs people like you to fill thousands of positions.

Whether you're just starting your professional career or looking to make a change, industrial distribution may be for you.

What is Industrial Distribution?

It's simple: Industrial Distribution involves moving products from multiple manufacturers to multiple users.

Industrial Distributors:

  • Are found in every major city and most small ones, as well as near major agricultural and natural resource production centers.
  • Sell a broad range of products for use in almost every industry.
  • Range in size from single-location firms that sell less than $2 million annually to multi-billion, multinational companies with hundreds of locations.
  • Primarily include privately-held corporations (over 95%), many family-owned and operated.
  • Serve as a “one-stop” resource for a wide range of industrial products and value-added services.
  • Offer local technical expertise, product knowledge and product promotion.

Click the picture below to watch a short video from on what is Industrial Distribution?

Industrial Distribution Overview Video
Industrial Distribution Overview Video

What Do Industrial Distributors Do?

Industrial distributors are highly trained professionals who help manufacturers get their products into the hands of the customers who use it.

Customers, from your local pizza parlor to a jet engine manufacturer, all depend on distributors for products and services to help them improve productivity and profitability.

As an industrial distributor you:

  • Call on customers and take orders.
  • Introduce new products.
  • Describe features
  • Demonstrate benefits
  • Solve problems.
  • Manage territory accounts.
  • Make presentations.
  • Purchase and inventory goods.
  • And much more.


Industrial products are used in almost every industry:

  • For natural resource extraction and processing in agriculture, forestry, petroleum and mining.
  • To process and package food and beverages.
  • As components in equipment manufactured for businesses and consumers.
  • To maintain and repair machinery used in production processes.
  • In commercial and residential construction and facilities maintenance.
  • At public utilities and in heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Why Industrial Distribution?

Industrial distribution is one of the fastest growing segments of our economy:

In the United States alone, industrial distributors:

  • Represent over 5% of total gross domestic product ($750 billion).
  • Operate almost 83,000 companies, with over 113,000 branch locations.
  • Employ 1.4 million workers, almost 1% of total employment