Podcasts Archive - Modern Distribution Management

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16: S10E16: Ted Cowie Reflects on 40 Years in Industrial & Safety Sales

Ted Cowie retired at the end of May after four decades leading distribution and manufacturing sales teams, including at Motion, Safety Today and Barnes. He and Tom Gale examine how sales strategies evolved during his career, particularly during his 10+ years at Motion, and reflect on the relationships that made his time in the industry successful.

15: S10E15: What’s Tech Got to Do with It?

In advance of MDM’s July 10 Virtual Sales Summit, Tom Gale, Tony Pericle and Nick Pericle dive into what high-performance distribution sales models look like in 2024 and the deeper challenges that sales reps face in the marketplace today. Their discussion covers changing roles and customer expectations and the ways in which technology, including AI, can help reps elevate their game.

14: S10E14: Green Mountain Electric Doesn’t Have an End Goal. Here’s Why

Like for any distributor making frequent acquisitions and headcount additions, it takes a high degree of communication, strategic planning and integration coordination to ensure the train stays on the tracks. That’s just what Vermont-based Green Mountain Electric Supply has done, with about a dozen bolt-on deals made since 2021. Two of its executives stop by to share how the distributor has made it work and share the company’s story.

13: S10E13: Cut Through the AI Noise

Artificial intelligence in distribution carries a combination of hype, hope, promise and peril. Long-time technology analyst Justin King, the Global Director and Analyst of the B2B eCommerce Association, helps cut through the noise to get more precise on the short- and long-term impact of how AI is being deployed in distribution. Hear real-world AI use cases from the industry and where he sees the technology going. 

12: S10E12: Denver’s AIS Exemplifies Small Distributor Innovation

AIS Industrial & Construction Supply is a single-location distributor, but its innovation in sales, marketing and eCommerce has outdone that of many larger industry counterparts. President & CEO Dale Hahs joins to discuss what AIS has been up to lately, what he’s seen change in his 40 years with the company, and what he’d do differently in a career restart.

11: S10E11: Inside Vallen’s Aggressive Transformation

MRO supplies distributor Vallen has undergone major changes over the past few years, including its $350 million acquisition of Wesco Integrated Supply that closed April 1. But that deal is just the latest move. A former Sonepar subsidiary, Vallen became independent in 2022, has joined AD and NAW and was named ISA’s 2023 Innovator of the Year. CEO Chuck Delph stops by to discuss the company’s aggressive moves and the strategy behind them.

10: S10E10: Voices of ISA24

MDM brought a staff contingent to the Industrial Supply Association’s annual spring convention, ISA24, held April 15-17 in Charlotte. This compilation podcast features eight mini interviews Executive Editor Mike Hockett conducted at ISA24, gathering perspectives from ISA’s CEO, two distribution CEOs, three service providers and two college students. These attendees share their thoughts on the show, the business climate outlook, the biggest challenges facing the industrial supply channel, and more.

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.

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