The Industrial Distribution Association and the Industrial Manufacturers Association recently reported that more major manufacturing facilities are signing what are referred to as national contracts with distributors, according to reports from The contracts are designed to provide large facilities with various products and services.

A survey, done in 2002, found that 31 percent of all facility purchases were made through a national contract. Experts predict that this trend will continue to grown, doubling by the year 2010. The study also found that customers were asking their distributors to provide more services and products than in the past.

According to the article, this trend could hurt small to mid-sized distributors, partially because those distributors may have a limited number of locations and a service radius of no more than 200 miles. Also, smaller distributors may not have the technology or sophistication required to services these larger customers.

To read this full report, as well as how buying groups might help, click here.