SHIFT 2024 Agenda - Modern Distribution Management

2024 Agenda


Day 1 - September 11


September 11

2:00 - 7:00 pm

Registration Open

3:00 - 3:20 pm

Opening Remarks

3:20 - 5:00 pm

Benchmark Your Innovation & Transformation Levers

Tom Gale, Modern Distribution Management
Mike Marks, Founding Partner, Indian River Consulting

Energize your SHIFT 2024 experience with our dynamic opening workshop, designed to drive your transformation journey forward. Engage in discussions to benchmark progress and exchange insights with industry peers while utilizing comprehensive assessment tools covering Hybrid Sales, Digital, and Data Analytics to guide your discussions and propel actionable outcomes. Maximize impact by bringing your team along, accelerating collaborative results and encouraging lasting impact within your organization.

SHIFT showcases cutting-edge research and real-world narratives from organizations undergoing multi-year transformational shifts. Witness the evolution from antiquated outside sales processes to robust hybrid models, seamlessly integrating inside sales, digital platforms, and specialized team roles. Transition from transactional to strategic tech stacks, enhancing customer engagement while optimizing sales costs. Unlock the power of advanced data analytics capabilities and cultivate a vibrant distribution culture that fuels innovation and drives success.

This workshop allows you to identify industry best practices, set realistic goals, inform strategic decision-making, and enhance your competitive advantage.

5:30 pm

Welcome Reception

Join fellow attendees, speakers and sponsors to kickoff SHIFT | The Future of Distribution


Day 2 - September 12


September 12

7:00 - 5:00 pm


7:00 - 7:30 am


7:30 - 8:15 am

The Future of Distribution Business Model Innovation

Kevin Reid-Morris, CEO, Readmore Ventures
Tom Gale, Modern Distribution Management

As wholesale distribution channels undergo massive disruptions and changes, MDM Research has uncovered common characteristics of highest-performing business model innovators. Our opening session sets the stage for SHIFT 2024 to help you build the best path forward for your future success as we share what separates revenue-generating innovators from the rest.

8:15 - 9:00 am

Customer Delight: The Next Horizon of Customer Engagement & Experience

Kevin Sachs, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company
Victoria Bough, Partner, McKinsey & Company

In an industry where relationship equity and services have traditionally been key differentiators, McKinsey & Company’s Wholesale Distribution practice experts reveal groundbreaking research on transcending conventional boundaries. Join us to explore how wholesale distributors can engineer superior customer experiences and drive unparalleled value and growth. Discover actionable strategies that not only enhance customer engagement and satisfaction but also deliver significant financial returns and ROI. Learn how to build a competitive advantage that goes beyond the core product portfolio and traditional value-added services, setting a new standard for profitability and customer loyalty.

9:00 - 9:30 am

Session TBD


10:10 - 10:50 am

Innovation Insights Panel

Kevin Short, ORS Medco
Kathryn Poehling Seymour, President & CEO, First Supply
Sarah Fiehler, VP Channel Strategy, Operations & Digital Enablement, Schneider Electric

Every distribution company’s innovation journey is different while sharing common challenges. Our panel of industry leaders will share insights into creating focus, overcoming resistance and driving successful change as they have effectively navigated and implemented hybrid sales models and digital transformation initiatives.

10:50 - 11:20 am

How to Build an Innovation Culture

Tracie Sponenberg, Tracie Sponenberg, LLC

Innovative organizations are faster, flatter, nimble and creative. This session addresses how you can transition from a more traditional management framework to a coaching model of leadership. This people formula of the future nurtures top talent and increases retention, customer experience and revenue/profitability growth.

11:20 am - 12:00 pm

Crafting Competitive Advantage: The Stellar Industrial Innovation Journey

John Wiborg, President & CEO, Stellar Industrial Supply
Moderated by Mike Hockett, Senior Editor, MDM

In this fireside chat, John Wiborg, President and CEO of Stellar Industrial Supply, delves into the transformative strategies behind Stellar’s remarkable evolution in the distribution industry. John will share how Stellar has continually strengthened its value proposition to customers by leveraging operational innovation, culture and strategic acquisitions to reshape its business model and maintain a competitive edge in a challenging marketplace.

12:00 - 12:35 pm

The New Risk-Reward Equation for Distribution Tech Stack Strategy

Moderator: Caroline Ernst, VP eCommerce, Affiliated Distributors
Panelists: Infor, DataXstream, SAP

As the speed of digital accelerates, hear what leading technology service providers are seeing at the front lines, as well as what state-of-the-art looks like from tech-forward sectors. Where are leaders creating ROI from technology investments? How are distributors getting traction with AI? Tackling tough product data, customer experience and operational areas to differentiate their value? Gain from these insider insights to help frame your next moves.


Knowledge Pathways

1:45 - 2:30 PM

Track A: Hybrid Sales – Change Management to Get Sales Model Transformation Right

Mike Marks, Founding Partner, Indian River Consulting Group
Mike Emerson, Managing Partner, Indian River Consulting Group

There are proven best practices in the journey from a legacy outside sales model to more efficient hybrid teams and omnichannel strategies. Learn from a decade of research into distribution sales model transformation and alignment to strategy for what to focus on, how to tame the elephants in the room, and the insider’s guide to sales compensation plan alignment – the area distributors typically struggle with most.

Track B: Digital – The Future of B2B Digital Experience

Justin King, B2X Partners

Explore the transformative role of AI assistants in B2B commerce, focusing on their ability to simplify product discovery, enhance decision-making, and predict needs. We’ll discuss the future of intuitive and predictive AI-driven interfaces and provide practical advice on effective change management and training to prepare your team for these advancements. Join us to gain insights into creating a more responsive, efficient, and customer-centric B2B environment.

Track C: Data Analytics – Distributor Data Analytics Best Practices

Moderator: Donnie Williamson, Director of Analytics, MDM Analytics
Dennis Shaw, Manager, Strategic Planning, Graybar
Pat Hashimoto, Director, Customer and Market Intelligence, MSC Industrial
Stefanie Lee, Market Analytics Team Leader, McNaughton-McKay Electric Company

Industry leaders in data analytics will share their insights into the art and science of integrating internal and external data resources, forecasting market trends and advanced analytics to elevate business strategy. The conversation will highlight practical examples of how distributors can tap into these resources to better predict customer needs and optimize sales channels for increased efficiency and effectiveness.


3:00 - 3:45 PM

Track A: Hybrid Sales Omnichannel Sales & Channel Strategies to Drive Revenue Growth

James Dorn, President & CEO, Dorn Group
John Gunderson, Channel Strategy & Profitability, Dorn Group

This session explores strategies to fully leverage supplier resources, sales enablement and marketing teams to provide meaningful business development intelligence, tools and turnkey programs that enhance performance across all your selling teams. Key topics include deepening supplier partnerships to provide more comprehensive sales enablement support, maximizing the sales potential of your internal marketing and sales enablement teams, adopting a solutions-oriented go-to-market approach, and more.

Track B: Digital – AI Workshop: How Distributors Can Get the Most Out of ChatGPT

Nick Pericle, Vice President, Technology Strategy & Solutions, Profit Optics

In today’s rapidly advancing tech landscape, distributors of all sizes can achieve significant operational improvements using ChatGPT and similar AI tools. This workshop will focus on the capabilities of multi-modal ChatGPT, which combines voice, images, and text, and custom GPTs, tailored to specific business needs. Participants will learn how these technologies can enhance customer interactions, refine analytics, and boost marketing strategies quickly. We’ll demonstrate practical ways to integrate these tools into existing systems, empowering distributors to not only adapt but excel in the digital age. Join us to explore how to leverage ChatGPT’s advanced features for immediate business impact.

Track C: Data Analytics – Data-Driven Strategies to Target High-Potential Customers

John Nantz, Founder & Partner, Redwood Advisors

Even with a high-quality sales strategy and go-to-market approach, many distributors struggle to identify what customers to go after. To point their best resources in the right direction, distributors need to understand where they stand in terms of share in key markets and total addressable market (TAM). In particular, distributors need a well-defined view of who their top potential customers are, a challenging exercise especially for distributors with niche products.

In this session, attendees will receive in-depth insights on how Redwood Advisors has helped distributors use proprietary analytical techniques and a combination of internal & external databases to identify their top potential customers. These core strategies will help you evaluate your best opportunities for growth and directly tie your key resources to the right customers and investment areas.

4:00 - 5:00 pm

Innovation Super Sessions

Engage in interactive dialogue, guided by a trusted facilitator, to explore key topics, share insights, and generate actionable solutions as it relates to your chosen pathway of: Hybrid Sales, Digital, or Data Analytics

5:30 - 7:30 pm

Evening Reception

Join SHIFT’s evening reception and dinner.


Day 3 - September 13


September 13

7:00 - 3:00 pm​


7:00 - 8:00 am


8:00 - 8:45 am

B2B Selling 2024: Unlocking Agility in Your Sales Force to Drive Growth

Andy Clement, Executive Partner, Gartner

Learn from the latest research and insights on B2B selling as Andy reveals strategies to future-proof your sales organization and manage change with agility, unlocking growth opportunities by up to three times. Discover the three key accelerators that distinguish successful companies: revenue intelligence, technology as a teammate, and modularity.

Andy will share examples of B2B companies that have excelled in agility, providing actionable insights on navigating change, leveraging new tools, and aligning your sales strategy with the future of B2B interactions. This session is a must-attend for professionals looking to enhance their sales tactics and thrive in a competitive market.

8:45 - 9:30 am

Panel: Lessons Learned on the Hybrid Sales Transition Journey

Moderator: Mike Marks, Indian River Consulting Group
Joe DeMarco, VP Business Development & Technology, LINC Systems
Kevin Fitzpatrick, Reece
Margot Hart, Sales Enablement, SPI

This session explores the challenges and solutions on the road to creating a hybrid or omni-channel sales model. Learn from those who have been on a multi-year path to creating a high-performance sales organization – their wins, challenges and insights that have helped them create more efficient and profitable sales organizations and go-to-market models.

9:45 - 10:15 am

Redefining Distribution: Wesco’s Journey of Innovation and Growth

John Engel, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Wesco
Facilitated by: Tom Gale

This fireside chat with John Engel, CEO of Wesco, shares insights into the company’s transformative journey in the distribution industry. This discussion will delve into the strategic initiatives and innovative business models that have propelled Wesco’s growth and adaptation in a rapidly changing market. From leveraging technology and digital tools to enhancing supply chain efficiencies and customer engagement, learn how Wesco is navigating challenges and seizing opportunities in today’s competitive landscape.

10:20 - 11:00 am

Designing an Ideal Distribution Technology Stack

Moderator: Tony Pericle, Founder & CEO, Profit Optics
Ramanujam Theekshidar, Chief Digital Officer, U.S. Electrical Services

Our final fireside chat features a conversation that explores the essentials of building the ideal technology stack for distribution. This session will highlight key strategies for selecting and integrating the right tools and partners to boost efficiency and customer satisfaction. We will share a unique outlook on creating a technology setup that supports current operations and adapts to future needs. Technology is a competitive advantage, and how you go about implementing will be a difference maker for future success in more complex markets.

11:05 - 11:50 am

Digital Innovation Panel: Practical Application of AI

Guy Courtin, Vice President of Industry and Global Alliances, Tecsys


1:00 - 2:00 pm

Mainstage Session –  Workshop

Change Management Workshop: Critical Innovation & Transformation Levers

Program Concludes -  2:00 pm


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