Robert S. Boyles, Jr., a veteran distribution industry executive, technology advocate and consultant, died in January at the age of 60. Most recently Bob was Controller for IM Supply, a Dallas-based national account solution provider for electrical and lighting MRO products to large multi-site industrial customers.
Bob started his career in distribution in the mid-1980s as the Chief Technology Officer for the 12thlargest electrical distributor in the U.S. at that time, Maddux Supply Company. He then worked as an implementation specialist in the 1990s with two of the major distribution software providers, leading all aspects of client projects from requirements, data migration to end-user training and project go-live and third-party vendor relationships.
In 2001, he started his own consulting firm, Smarter Distribution, and was the author in 2003 of Succeeding with Distribution Technology, A Guide to System Selection & Project Management for Distribution Companies. He shared his reasoning for a book about distribution technology in the first chapter:
“The distribution business has consumed my career for the past 20 years. During that period of time, the changes have been impressive and the forces affecting the industry now promise even more dramatic transformation. For the distributor, the ability to execute a successful technology strategy is more important than ever before. One thing has stuck with me as I’ve traveled this continent working with hundreds of distributors: Everyone wants to tell you why you should spend money, but no one has bothered to explain how you should go about the process. The goal of this book is to aid you in the process of selecting the correct technology system and make it work within your company.”
Bob also wrote for several industry publications throughout the years, sharing his knowledge and passion for technology. He stepped back into operational roles in the later 2000s, serving as controller for the past 12 years of his career. He was a keen and passionate champion for the value of distribution and how technology was a key lever to apply knowledge to solve problems.
He ended the first chapter of his book with the following: “How you go about seeking knowledge and practicing it defines you and your company. One of the principal tools that we’ve had at our disposal in the application of knowledge in the 21stcentury has been technology. Selecting the right system and using it properly will define your company’s operational procedures for the next decade. So selecting the right solution and making sure it’s going to work are pretty important tasks. Let’s get started down the path to Smarter Distribution.”