AI_Summit - Modern Distribution Management


February 7, 2024 | 10:00 - 4:00 Eastern.


What to Expect

MDM’s 2024 AI for Distributors Summit connects leaders of the $9-trillion North American wholesale distribution industry to share what’s on the horizon for AI models, as well as the latest strategy, integration and implementation guidance to innovate and create meaningful transformation in organizations today. The event is designed to help leadership teams evaluate, assess and scale their AI investments successfully.




10:00 am ET - Welcome & Introduction to the Summit

Tom Gale, CEO, Modern Distribution Management

10:05 am ET - Keynote: Unlocking Value with AI in Distribution

Tony Pericle, Founder, ProfitOptics
Companies achieving profitable growth have one thing in common: a successful digital strategy. AI, with the right vision and skilled hands, can augment and accelerate this digital strategy. The challenge we have within distribution is that most leaders have basic literacy at best when it comes to technology (which includes data and AI), the foundation of a successful digital strategy. To excel in today’s market, leaders must develop a fluency around the capabilities of data, technology and AI.

This keynote reviews the landscape of AI in context with distribution, providing specific use cases of applied artificial intelligence. Our hope is that you leave with improved AI literacy and a roadmap for how to equip and inspire your team to achieve astonishing results with this technology. 

10:35 am ET - Panel: A Playbook to Accelerate Success

Robyn Pollina, CEO, Palmer-Donavin
Nate Scott, Executive VP, Alliance Distribution Partners
Moderator: Kevin Reid Morris, Readmore Ventures
MDM’s 2024 research on artificial intelligence offers a new framework for distribution executives to make critical AI decisions that deliver value in practical, tangible ways for their businesses, employees, customers and partners. In addition to an overview of the current state and practical impacts today for distributors, this panel discussion will address the strategy, priorities and internal and external resources to create a roadmap for AI implementation. You’ll hear practical case-study examples of how distributors are creating deeper value for customers with AI.

11:15 am ET - Beyond the Hype: Leveraging AI for Distributors' Next Best Actions

Kristen Thom, Vice President of Product, White Cup
This session will demystify AI for distributors by showcasing practical AI applications designed to provide clear and concise next best actions. We’ll tackle the misconceptions and overcomplications surrounding AI, highlighting how distributors can use AI to bring simplicity and direct value to their daily operations. We’ll share strategies and use cases that illustrate the real-world benefits of a simplified AI approach. 

Attendees will discover how AI can be applied in practical ways that directly support their sales and operational goals, distinguishing between AI as a buzzword and AI as a beneficial tool for growth.

11:35 am ET - Risks and Ethical Considerations with AI Deployment

Michael Knight, President & CEO, Endries International Inc. 
Mike Hockett, Executive Editor, Modern Distribution Management

The fast-changing frontier of AI includes emerging risks, compliance and ethical issues with few guardrails to help distribution executives identify and avoid risks that can be obscured by the buzz. In this session, Endries International CEO Michael Knight shares how his company is putting AI to use, as well as his thoughts on workforce dynamics, coding bias, and the risk-reward equations of AI trends for industrial businesses.

12:05 pm ET - 15 minute Break

12:20 pm ET - Life after EDI: How to use AI to automate orders without impacting your customers

Brian Zubert, VP of Product, Conexiom
Tiffany Alexander, VP of Solutions & Sales Engineering, Conexiom
Closing the digital order gap is hard. EDI, eCommerce, OCR, and AI, anything is better than teams manually keying in orders. So many choices, so little time. 

Join this session for exclusive research on how the digital order gap is impacting distributors and get a crash course in automation options available along with the pros and cons of each, and how they change your customer’s experience. Reduce costs, bring down error rates, and scale your teams to create better customer experiences. 

12:40 pm ET - Enhance Your Productivity with ChatGPT: A Tutorial for Wholesale Distribution Executives

Jarad Gilmore, GTM, OpenAI
Nick Pericle, VP, Technology Strategy & Solutions, ProfitOptics
Dive into the practical applications of ChatGPT with OpenAI as your guide. This session will take you through the practical steps of using ChatGPT to boost your productivity, from mastering the basics to advanced prompt engineering techniques. Topics include getting started, practical applications for daily tasks, prompt engineering for executives and integrating ChatGPT into your workflow.

1:15 pm ET - Panel: Critical Steps to Get Your Data AI-Ready Now

Kevin Tesch, Chief Information Officer, Performance Health
Rama Theekshidar, Chief Digital Officer, U.S. Electrical Services 
Moderator: Nick Pericle, VP, Technology Strategy & Solutions, ProfitOptics

Data maturity is foundational to successful AI adoption. Most distributors have a multitude of data silos, without a data management strategy. This panel discusses the infrastructure, normalization and enhancement processes, security and other management factors to create a robust, AI-ready data platform. We’ll also cover how to equip your team with the specific data skills to help you build a more data-centric culture.

1:50 pm ET - Autopilot for Pricing: AI-Driven Pricing in a Hyper-Personalized Era

Peter Nemrow, Strategic Consultant, PROS
Just as autonomous vehicles must rapidly adapt to ever-changing traffic conditions with precision, today’s distributors grapple with the dual challenge of maximizing profitability while nurturing customer relationships in increasingly competitive and dynamic market conditions. 

In this session, we uncover how AI is improving distributors’ profitability and customer relationships with hyper-personalized pricing at scale and how it can be confidently utilized while maintaining full guardrail control. Learn the parallels between the advanced algorithms guiding self-driving cars and those powering the next generation of market-responsive pricing, equipping your business to stay ahead in a fast-paced economic landscape.

2:10 pm ET - 15 minute Break

2:25 pm ET - Fireside Chat: What Microsoft Copilot Means for Distributors

Matt Petersen, Business Applications Sales Executive, Retail, Consumer Products, Wholesale Distribution, Microsoft
Tom Gale, CEO, Modern Distribution Management
A high percentage of distributors operate on Microsoft platforms and solutions. With deep experience in distribution technology and his current responsibility for Retail, CPG and Distribution as a Microsoft Business Applications Sales Executive, Matt Petersen will share the latest developments on CoPilot, and what it means practically for distributors across the portfolio of products – Microsoft 365, Power Platforms, Azure and more. 

2:55 pm ET - Live Q&A with Session Speakers

Bring your questions! Tom Gale will moderate an open Q&A session with event speakers. What’s on your mind in thinking through AI applications in Distribution? How can we help?

3:15 pm ET - Panel: Crafting an Effective AI Strategy in Wholesale Distribution

Harish Gally, Chief Information and Digital Officer, Composites One
Mike Mortensen, President & CEO, ARG Industrial
Chris Bohn, VP of IT, APR Supply

Moderator: Pierre Barbeau, Co-Founder and CEO, Moblico
This panel brings together leaders from major wholesale distribution companies to explore the intricacies of integrating artificial intelligence into business strategy. This discussion will delve into the challenges and opportunities of managing vast data landscapes, ensuring seamless integration with legacy systems, and fostering a culture that embraces AI innovation. Panelists will share their insights on aligning AI initiatives with business goals, measuring ROI, and future-proofing strategies in the face of rapidly evolving AI technologies. Attendees will gain valuable perspectives on developing and executing a successful AI strategy, tailored to the unique needs of large-scale distribution environments.

3:55 pm ET - Recap of Key Takeaways & Close

Tom Gale, CEO, Modern Distribution Management
Mike Hockett, Executive Editor, Modern Distribution Management

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