The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

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Intentional organizational development that includes a company restructure is often discussed but rarely followed through. Along with the help of her business coach Lori Miller of Developing Professionals, NetPlus Alliance President and Owner Jennifer Murphy pulled off the task with satisfying results. Listen to the pair discuss the change process and provide tips on how to make it happen for you.

Hundreds of e-commerce marketplaces have popped up in the last few years. How can a distributor distinguish those that are more likely to last? Digital platform consultancy Applico’s CEO Alex Moazed and Managing Director Nick Johnson address the details behind their company’s top marketplaces ranking and how they see distributors using such platforms to compete with Amazon and other online giants.

Klaus Werner, the chief marketing officer at Global Industrial Co., was named one of MDM’s Digital Innovator Award winners because of the numerous initiatives he has helped drive at the industrial distributor in this last pandemic-plagued year. In addition to leading the company’s rebranding efforts, including a website redesign, Werner oversaw the creation of a Knowledge Center that provides customers with expert advice and product info. He also managed a new social media campaign that saw Global Industrial venturing into the unlikeliest of channels for a distributor — TikTok. In this edition of the MDM Podcast, Senior Editor Eric Smith speaks with Werner about the busy year for him and his team, and how their initiatives resulted in measurable improvement for Global Industrial’s bottom line.

Building materials distributor Palmer-Donavin is feeling the crunch of labor shortages and supply constraints that many distribution companies now face. But despite those obstacles, it’s been a banner year for Palmer-Donavin. In this MDM podcast, CEO Robyn Pollina shares the secret to the company’s success in handling ongoing challenges, and discusses operational improvements the company is embarking on to ensure a strong future.


Kevin Short started his role with ORS Nasco in early 2020 after a 25-year career in other industrial distribution sectors. Here, he discusses how the company – with a diverse set of customer segments and 450,000 SKUs – navigated 2020, its transformation and unique positioning as a wholesaler. Short also delves into how the ORS Nasco value proposition is evolving, and the nature of leadership in 2021.

The pandemic accelerated distributors’ digital transformations with artificial intelligence, machine learning, edge compute, IoT and 5G poised to play key roles going forward for supply chains and e-commerce platforms. Next-gen technology can help improve the customer experience and provide independent distributors with an edge in differentiating themselves from digital disruptors.

With a background in event ticketing, Scott Barrows got a front row seat to witness how e-commerce platforms can affect distributor performance. Although in a different market sector, the lessons Barrows learned carry into the way he manages BluePallet, a B2B e-commerce platform currently serving the chemicals vertical. Listen in as Barrows discusses the pros and cons of how digital transformation can impact distributors.

Profitability, pricing and supply chain strategy consultant Jonathan Byrnes discusses the core concepts from his latest book on how distributors can target profitable customer segments and create differentiated services and experiences that can’t be replicated by the tech giants. He outlines a roadmap and most important steps to take now to reclaim control of your markets.

Former distribution CMO and expert in B2B customer loyalty programs Doug Press believes the core differentiators distributors have always had are the personal, deeply engaged relationships with customers. We talk about the strategy, tactics, monetization and metrics for how to best translate that critical asset post-pandemic into the realm of online engagement.
With a bright outlook shaping 2021 for pandemic and economic recovery, now is a critical time to look hard at what a distributor’s new value proposition looks like. Mark Dancer talks about what distributors are learning as they compete more effectively in the digital age, and the three emerging business models shaping the future of distribution.
In this conversation, President & CEO Jeff Cloud shares how this 72-year-old Midwest distributor with 36 locations has navigated the challenges of 2020 and continues to build a more digital- and data-driven organization. As part of the third-generation leadership team, Jeff talks about the core values and culture that continue to form its differentiated value propositions across a diverse customer base.

In this episode, MDM Future Leader Matt Miller, VP of Corporate Development at Jupiter Communications, discusses four critical projects he led as Commercial Operations Manager at IEWC and the need to transform customer experience from the inside-out. As a Future Leader, Miller shares his perspective on attracting top emerging talent, and the future of distribution.

PART TWO: In this episode, industry consultant (and MDM contributor across five decades!) Bruce Merrifield discusses post-COVID-19 scenarios for distributors and the imperatives to transform into more customer-centric, profit-driven entities to compete effectively with digital sellers. Key question: What if customers want digital first, then virtual support as needed, and finally physical visits by the “experts” they select? What will you and your assigned, regular-calling rep do?

As veterans of the B2B e-commerce world, Brian Beck and Andy Hoar know a boring online presentation when they see one. That’s why the pair are framing their new MasterB2B online video series as “the un-webinar.” Launching March 30, the series of un-webinars will unfold approximately every three weeks, providing distributors, manufacturers and other industry stakeholders with the tools and insider knowledge needed to run a successful e-commerce operation.

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PART ONE: In this episode, industry consultant (and MDM contributor across five decades!) Bruce Merrifield discusses post-COVID scenarios for distributors and the imperatives to transform into more customer-centric, profit-driven entities to compete effectively with digital sellers. Key question: What if customers want digital first, then virtual support as needed, and finally physical visits by the “experts” they select? What will you and your assigned, regular-calling rep do? 

In this episode, longtime M&A advisor Brent Grover shares his perspectives on how distribution M&A markets are shaping up in 2021. Short story: Financial buyers may have the edge over strategic acquirers, and overall buyers may want to be more patient than most sellers like this year. But as in every previous cycle, there are great opportunities across these highly fragmented markets.

In this episode, Brian Gardner, founder of SalesProcess360, demystifies the Sales Process Audit that industrial sales organizations can implement to get ROI from CRM. While CRM can be an impactful technology, Gardner stresses that organizations need the right processes in place to capitalize on their CRM investment. With over 25 years of experience in sales management and CRM, hear Gardner’s insight on how companies at all stages can get the most out of their sales process.

Over the course of a 50-year career at F.W. Webb, a diversified HVACR, plumbing and PVF distributor serving nine Northeast states, Ernie Coutermarsh has made an incredible impact on the industry, business associates and the lives of so many he has touched. In this interview, Ernie shares his thoughts on leadership, innovation, talent development and much more.

In this June 12, 2020 segment of MDM LIVE, John Caplan, President, North America & Europe,, urges distributors to drive digital in their businesses and the need for a marketplace strategy going forward. Hear much more from Caplan — including inspiration for taking your business digital, tips on getting started with and practical advice on how to sell internationally.

In this June 5, 2020 segment of MDM LIVE, Barry Litwin, CEO of Systemax, parent of Global Industrial, talks about the company’s ongoing digital transformation, online customer service and how they are helping their customers prepare to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 with its R3 (Restore, Return, Rebound) program.