Podcasts Archive - Modern Distribution Management

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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.

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.


S9E1: A Category Management Deep Dive with Steve Gettleman

We chat with former MSC Industrial Supply veteran Steve Gettleman on the topic of category management, for which he says a formal plan is severely lacking across the distribution sector. We cover the ins and outs of category management and how distributors of all kinds can leverage such a plan.

Quicktake 07.28.23: Distribution Business Model Transformation 


In May, Mike Marks and Tom Gale talked about what the shift from a gen-one to gen-two distributor looks like. This conversation goes into the deeper dimensions of a larger business model transformation this industry is navigating, and where share and competitive advantage is being won and lost.  

S8E18: Jonathan Byrnes on Enterprise Profit Management

“Why didn’t we make budget and how can we fix it?” The volatility of recent years has made budget variance a demanding challenge for all distributors. Jonathan Byrnes of Profit Isle discusses the profitability concepts he developed – with better detail and real-time information – that are helping management teams make better decisions, more accurately meet budget, and achieve step changes in profitability.

S8E17: Fueling Product & Service Innovation with Customer Immersion

Distribution consultant and serial entrepreneur Brent Grover joins MDM’s Tom Gale to discuss customer immersion as a best practice for developing breakthrough products and services. He also gives us a look into a very different distribution business model led by a Millennial and run by Gen Z managers and shares his take on distribution’s M&A landscape.

S8E16: Scott Schuenke on Sonepar’s Growth & Strategic Development

Electrical distribution veteran executive Scott Schuenke discusses Sonepar North America’s growth in his 16 years with the company, which culminate with his retirement this month as VP of Strategic Development. He touches on how the company has evolved and continuously innovated during his tenure.

S8E15: What Shaped MDM’s 2023 Top Distributors Lists

We condense the guest interviews and analysis from our Top Distributors webcast into a compilation podcast about the economic and industry factors that dictated who appeared where on our 17 different rankings lists. Guest voices include Grainger’s Paige Robbins, BlackHawk Industrial’s John Mark, Kimball Midwest’s Patrick McCurdy III, Channel Marketing Group’s David Gordon, Webb Analytics’ Craig Webb and MDM’s Tom Gale.

QuickTake 06.09.23: The Power of Qualitative Analytics

James Dorn and Tom Gale explore how to collect qualitative data to ensure distribution associates are in tune with what their end customers most value.

Quicktake 5.26.23: The Many Problems AI Engines Can Solve

While ChatGPT is all the rage, MDM’s Tom Gale and Indian River Consulting Group’s Mike Marks tackle the broader applications that AI-backed software can make more efficient and soon become widespread in distribution.


S8E14: Patrick McCurdy III on Kimball Midwest’s Constant Improvement

MRO parts distributor Kimball Midwest isn’t slowing down upon achieving 100 years in business. President Patrick McCurdy III stops by to discuss the company’s training and development efforts, digital initiatives and business performance so far in 2023.


Quicktake 05.19.23: Pricing for Digital Commerce

One of the biggest factors limiting the success of B2B distributor eCommerce is pricing. James Dorn looks at pricing strategy and two schools of thought on how distributors look at the ROI equation for their eCommerce revenues.


S8E13: Marketing Missteps that Cause Channel Conflict

Mike Hockett asks Consight Marketing Group’s Alan Hale about what grinds his gears in distribution marketing, and it’s a lot. Their discussion covers how marketing is a point of channel conflict, and how the situation can be improved. They also explore social media do’s and don’ts, as well as the vital role of customer insights.

S8E12: NAHAD Members Voice Cautious Optimism, Labor Updates

Mike Hockett interviews a handful of industry executives at NAHAD’s recent 2023 Convention in the Bahamas. Amid the tropical weather and island vibes, attendees were happy to discuss the the state of industry demand and give updates on the labor and supply chain situation.

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