Podcasts Archive - Modern Distribution Management

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S9E12: How Kodiak Grows through Local Empowerment

In just a dozen years, Kodiak Building Partners has gone from inception to No. 11 on MDM’s Top Building Materials Distributors List, acquiring over distribution 100 locations along the way and now has over 6,000 employees. CEO Steve Swinney details how enabling local autonomy has been crucial in the company’s growth strategy.


Quicktake 11.17.23: Price is Now Priority for Customers

The relative importance customers assign to the equation of price, availability and support has shifted in Q3, with important implications for distributors. And now digital is in the mix. James Dorn summarizes Dorn Group’s latest survey results with some surprising insights. 

S9E11: Amazon Business is Just Getting Started

Amazon Business surpassed $35 billion in annualized sales in early 2023, and it has plenty of further expansion on its mind. The marketplace’s worldwide director, Todd Heimes, joins us to discuss how Amazon Business is constantly innovating to cater to today’s B2B buyer, and why it sees immense opportunity ahead.

Quicktake 11.03.23: Fix Your Biggest Critical Constraint for 2024 Growth

It’s strategy season, and even optimistic predictions are for flattish overall industry growth in 2024. Mike Marks and Tom Gale talk through the bottom-line impact of focus in dealing with whatever form your big gorilla(s) looks like.

S9E10: The State of Innovation in Distribution

As distributors transform business models to stay competitive and close to customers, innovation has become a critical differentiator. NAW Chief Innovation Officer Bart Tessel and Applico CEO Alex Moazed share thoughts on where innovation is today in distribution, and where it’s headed.

Quicktake 10.27.23: Drive Profit with Active Category Management

In this continuing series on executing a Profitability Playbook, James Dorn outlines ways to leverage manufacturer incentives, create strategic tiered suppliers at a product category level, and capture every single dollar available before year end. 

Quicktake 10.20.23: Playing Offense in Defensive Times

Mike Marks and Tom Gale discuss the data points from Q3 and what the front lines in distribution are saying about how the fourth quarter of 2023 is shaping. Plus five proactive things distributors can do now to grow faster than the single-digit growth forecast for 2024. 

Quicktake 10.13.23: Protect Your Pricing & Profit

With softening demand trends going into Q4, my conversation with James Dorn of Dorn Group busts the myths of not being able to grow both top-line revenue and margin in challenging market conditions. Deeper customer-product segmentation and full leverage of your internal and external data resources are key to winning share today. 

Quicktake 10.06.23: From Vision to Transformation

In a debrief on core themes from MDM’s 2023 SHIFT conference, Mike Marks and Tom Gale talk about a clearer vision for the future of distribution emerging, the transformation levers to get there, getting traction with AI, and more. 

S9E9: Endries’ Michael Knight on His Learning Curve, Coaching & AI

Michael Knight became CEO of Wisconsin-based Endries International in late 2022 after a long tenure with an electronic components distributor. 

He joins the podcast to discuss his first year leading the fast-growing OEM fasteners supplier and that career market pivot, his thoughts on AI ethics, the power of coaching your staff and why we can expect to hear a lot more out of Endries in the near future.

Quicktake 09.29.23: A Profitability Playbook for Distributors

This conversation between Dorn Group President & CEO James Dorn and MDM CEO Tom Gale centers on how data analytics will prove crucial to distributors’ profitability in the year ahead, as the inflation tide that lifted all boats has now left. Here are the elements of a distributor profitability playbook.

S9E8: Culture Misconceptions about “The Great Resignation”

The notion of “no one wants to work anymore” persists amid today’s challenging labor pool in distribution, but Dr. Donte Vaughn – an expert in organizational leadership – says that’s a major misconception alongside “The Great Resignation”. He joins the podcast to discuss the state of culture today in industrial organizations, and how to bridge gaps between leadership and front-line workers.

S9E7: MDM’s AI Research Report Highlights

Research lead Kevin Reid-Morris and Tom Gale discuss the insights, surprises and hopes for AI this 2023 research into artificial intelligence surfaced. We also map out five behaviors and supporting building blocks for distributor AI success, with comments from our research partners. 

S9E6: Education, Industry Demand and What STAFDA’s Up To

STAFDA Chief Executive Georgia Foley stops by to discuss the association’s new educational initiative, the state of industry demand how it’s being impacted by U.S. Infrastructure Bill rollout and factory building boom, as well as a preview of the group’s annual convention in early November.

QuickTake 09.01.23: Distributors’ Key Business Objectives for 2024

With budgets and operational planning already eyeing the year ahead, Mike Marks and Tom Gale explore where distributors have the most leverage, and where their common gaps are.

S9E5: Higher EBITDA Multiple Drivers – A McKinsey Keynote Preview

What can we learn from distributors that have achieved a higher EBITDA multiple value on a sustained basis? McKinsey partner Kevin Sachs shares a preview of his team’s keynote at SHIFT 2023 on the differentiators of those who are convincing shareholders they are growing revenue faster, expanding profit margins and improving the efficiency in which they leverage their capital base.

S9E5: Higher EBITDA Multiple Drivers – A McKinsey Keynote Preview

What can we learn from distributors that have achieved a higher EBITDA multiple value on a sustained basis? McKinsey partner Kevin Sachs shares a preview of his team’s keynote at SHIFT 2023 on the differentiators of those who are convincing shareholders they are growing revenue faster, expanding profit margins and improving the efficiency in which they leverage their capital base.

S9E4: The Technology Leverage Shift in Distribution

The post-2020 era has seen distributors make enormous strides in technology adoption and application across their organization. Hisco VP of IT Ana Bennett – one of MDM’s upcoming SHIFT conference speakers – joins Tom Gale for a conversation about the evolving role of technology and where it’s headed.

Quicktake 08.18.23: Culture as a Competitive Differentiator

Speed wins in distribution. The ability to recognize and respond to threats and opportunities defines winners. Mike Marks talks about culture as the critical differentiator in periods of uncertainty, and the industry transition from traditional command-and-control leadership.

S9E3: Mental Health at Work – A Critical Business Conversation

While distributors are proud of the culture they’ve crafted, far less discussed in that topic is mental health. This episode joins The Granite Group’s Tracie Sponenberg and mental-health-at-work specialist Melissa Doman as they explore why mental health is a critical business conversation, how this industry can address growing mental health expectations and the benefits that can result.

Quicktake 08.11.23: The Data Analytics Journey in Distribution

The power of AI as a competitive differentiator is far from being defined. In this conversation, James Dorn and Tom Gale look at the bigger picture of data analytics in distribution, the stages of competency, building blocks and ways organizations are building world-class capability.

S9E2: The Keys to AFC Industries’ Rapid Expansion

Fairfield, Ohio-based AFC Industries has burst onto MDM’s Top Industrial Distributors scene, charting for the first time this year at No. 34 after several years of frequent acquisitions. We chat with AFC CEO Kevin Godin on how the company has successfully managed all of its recent growth and what’s on the horizon.

Quicktake 08.04.23: The “One Thing” for Distributor Success in 2024

Teams that pivoted faster and managed disruption, change and transition to get to transformation have out-performed competitors over the past three years. Tom Gale and Mike Marks channel the movie City Slickers as they discuss how to assess your team’s transformational capabilities across the dimensions of sales process, technology, data analytics and people.


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