Podcasts Archive - Modern Distribution Management

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S10E9: How Wajax Bulked Up its Product Offering with Service

Wajax Corp. has significantly expanded its Industrial Parts unit during the Iggy Domagalski’s first two years as CEO, and he stopped by to discuss key drivers for that business. We also touch on Wajax’s ongoing ERP rollout and technology initiatives, the company’s PPE enhancements, and the tailwinds and headwinds for fellow Canadian industrial distributors.

S10E8: A Home Depot-SRS Megadeal Breakdown

Distribution hasn’t seen a deal the magnitude of Home Depot’s pending $18.25 billion acquisition of SRS Distribution in quite some time — maybe ever. Mike Hockett and Craig Webb break down the key details of the combination, why it makes sense for Home Depot and why this was likely the long-term play for SRS all along.

S10E7: Inventory Opportunities in Slower-Demand Markets

Customers continue to work down inventory levels into 2024. James Dorn and John Gunderson outline action items for optimizing inventory levels – in partnership with suppliers – to stay nimble and gain share as competitors stumble on A and B items.

S10E6: Mars Supply Keeps Evolving 100 Years In

Industrial supplies distributor Mars Supply is celebrating 100 years in business throughout 2024, and it didn’t achieve that milestone by happenstance. The company’s President, Bob Mars, has been there for 47 of those years, giving him a wealth of perspective on what’s changed in the industry, and what hasn’t. We discuss Mars Supply’s history and what it’s up to today, how the company has eliminated hidden costs and why customers choose it over larger competitors.


S10E5: A Breakdown of Fastenal’s Decade-Long “Big Pivot”

All three parts of John Gunderson’s November series on Fastenal’s “big pivot” — which examined the distributor’s decade-long transformation from a distributor dependent upon nationwide branches to one that emphasizes embedded customer service — ended up in MDM’s 10 most-read free blogs of 2023. That makes it well worth further discussion. So, we invited Gunderson onto the Podcast for an even deeper dive on Fastenal and what’s led to its current state of success.

S10E4: Voices of NAW’s Executive Summit

The National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors’ 2024 Executive Summit was its best-attended such event in years, and NAW’s content lineup was ready for it. This compilation podcast features mini interviews with four distributors, one consultant and two NAW executives on what their biggest takeaway was from the summit and their top initiatives for this year.

S10E3: How Singer Industrial Handled Several Years of Change

In the past two years, industrial rubber and fluid power products distributor Singer Industrial has sold off a business unit, rebranded and made over a dozen acquistiions alongside greenfield expansion. CEO Craig Osborne tells us how his company managed so many moving pieces. We also touch on distribution’s labor situation, technology and AI, and what’s on the horizon for Singer.

S10E2: After a Huge 2023, What Does M&A Look Like in 2024?

MDM posted 403 news items in 2023 involving distributors, or manufacturers that sell into distribution. That blew away 2022 and 2021. So, how much M&A runway is still left, and what’s driving it? We chat with Brown, Gibbons & Lang Managing Director Kevin Sargent on that, as well as why distribution M&A is running much hotter than the greater manufacturing sector.

S10E1: Cracking the New Leadership Code

Leadership has been a critical differentiator for how well a distribution firm has performed over the past three years of disruption. Leadership consultant, coach and author Alain Hunkins discusses the transition from old- to new-school leadership, employee-customer experience, and how to build an energized work culture.


S9E14: Jennifer Murphy Says Distribution’s Diversity is a Beautiful Thing

NetPlus Alliance has served industrial distributors and suppliers as a buying group since 2002, but its roots date back nearly 200 years. Its Owner, President and CEO, Jennifer Murphy joins to discuss how that history has shaped the group and the role that buying groups play in distribution today. She had great perspective on the state of diversity throughout the industry supply space and why it continues to serve the channel well.

The conversation also touched on the value of Women in Industry groups, what NetPlus has been up to lately and what Murphy is hearing from members for their 2024 outlook.

Quicktake 12.08.23: Report Card on Distribution Business Models

Time for a check-up on the state of the industry as 2023 ends. Mike Marks and Tom Gale review the shifts – seismic and otherwise – that have shaped the competitive landscape across the dimensions of sales channels, digital, data analytics and culture.

S9E13: BradyIFS + Envoy Solutions See Many Ways to Win

BradyIFS and Envoy Solutions are behind much of the consolidation in distribution’s JanSan, foodservice and packaging supplies verticals, and they took it to another level with their landmark merger at the end of October.

Chairman and CEO Ken Sweder joins to discuss the strategy behind that deal and its moving pieces, and why the combined company has no plans of slowing down its expansion. The conversation also touched on the demand outlook for those markets that the distributor serves.

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.

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