44 episodes

Dive into the stories, struggles, and solutions from business owners and thought leaders in the wholesale distribution market.

Distribution Talk Jason Bader, Distribution Team

    • Entrepreneurship
    • 5.0, 12 Ratings

Dive into the stories, struggles, and solutions from business owners and thought leaders in the wholesale distribution market.

    Andrew Johnson on supply chain automation, innovation, and industry disruption

    Andrew Johnson on supply chain automation, innovation, and industry disruption

    In this episode, I catch up with Andrew Johnson, CEO of ShelfAware VMI, a system that monitors inventory consumption in real-time via RFID technology. His affinity for disrupting the family distributorship’s systems led to a spin-off career at the helm of a virtually no-touch inventory solution.

    Andrew shares his company’s fascinating origins story as well as its mission to provide an efficient, remote data reporting method with a low-cost point of entry.

    • 43 min
    Katie Parris on company culture, customer relationships, and generational shifts

    Katie Parris on company culture, customer relationships, and generational shifts

    Katie Parris, CEO of The Part Works in Seattle, WA, is a second-generation owner who’s managing her commercial plumbing supply company from the intersection of old-school knowledge and innovative thinking. I caught up with Katie to discuss her path to the C-suite and find out why her company’s culture can top Amazon’s low prices any day of the week.
    “Anybody can be the cheapest when the part’s not on the shelf.” But when a hospital risks losing $15,000 a day in revenue because a broken faucet prohibits the use of an entire patient room, they don’t price check with the giant online retailers. More often than not, facilities managers ring up The Part Works’ knowledgeable, responsive team and gets that part in hand within hours. 
    With its single location, The Part Works doesn’t bother paying too close attention to Amazon. Instead, they’re focused on the value they bring to their own counter. Beyond the relationships they’ve built with customers, Katie’s most proud of the connection and commitment flourishing behind the scenes. 
    ***
    Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.   
    http://www.distributionteam.com
    This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.
    Connect with Jason on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonbader
    Connect with Katie on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katieparris
    ***
    “My first, biggest challenge was shifting the company culture,” she says. Initially, her collaborative methods caused some growing pains in opposition to her father’s command and control style, even prompting some old-guard employees to exit. “I wasn't going to become my dad. I needed to build the future of the business around my own leadership style,” she says.  
    Today, the 25-employee company is a blend of long-time staff and newer recruits. The culture combined with Katie’s ability to manage for the future helped The Part Works recently navigate a much-needed tech upgrade. 
    “I would say 18 months of hell - but totally worth it,” she laughs, secure in the knowledge that her self-inflicted headache has yielded the company over 50% growth in two years - with zero additional headcount.
    Katie’s success points to a big generational shift coming not only to her industry but as across multiple distribution verticals. She has a tip for those looking for career advice. “I think distribution is very ripe for opportunity.”

    • 35 min
    Paul Glover on resilience coaching for distributors and workforce development

    Paul Glover on resilience coaching for distributors and workforce development

    Workforce development coach Paul Glover is no stranger to adversity. For 30 years, he suited up to do court-side battle as a labor employment lawyer. Then, in 1995, he was convicted of a variety of white-collar crimes. He served five years in federal prison for those missteps. Today, Paul’s an expert in organizational resilience, a topic that’s crash-landed onto the business landscape.

    • 33 min
    Greg Drouillard on a lifelong commitment to service, learning, fitness, and staying curious

    Greg Drouillard on a lifelong commitment to service, learning, fitness, and staying curious

    “I think one of the common denominators to me for the successful people out there… is the word curiosity. The word curiosity means, to me, that you care...that you ask questions and you want to learn and you're still thirsty for growing each and every day.” ~Greg Drouillard, Target Building Materials, LTD.
    If you’re searching for a prime example of “a body in motion stays in motion,” look no further than Greg Drouillard. As the owner of Target Building Materials, LTD. in Windsor, Ontario, he likes to be part of the action - in the office, on the trails, and out in his community. 
    I had the chance to catch up with Greg to discuss some familiar Distribution Talk themes and look ahead at the business landscape, post-pandemic. I also discover what’s at the literal heart of Greg’s commitment to physical fitness and his motivation to stay curious, enthused, and grateful.
    “I never wanted to be a bleacher creature. I wanted to be involved and be on the playing field or on the ice... I didn't want to be a bench sitter and I've always put my hand up to say yes. I like to be involved.”
    ***
    Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.   
    http://www.distributionteam.com
    This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.
    Connect with Jason on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonbader
    Connect with Greg on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/greg-drouillard-48b82112/
    ***
    The desire to contribute has kept Greg in the game since he first climbed into the seat of a forklift as a teenager. As fun as those hours in his family’s warehouse were, Greg had aspirations elsewhere. Up in the air, to be exact.
    Administrative opportunities and advancement at Air Canada followed but the family business eventually came calling so Greg went back - on his terms. “I said, I will enter into your business, based on the condition...I start from the rock bottom and I want to learn the business. I want no favors. I want no stripes on my shoulder until I earn them.” 
    That was over forty years ago. It’s safe to say that Greg has since earned his stripes, leading by example from the field rather than the sidelines. He’s participated in multiple organizations including ACDI/VOCA and STAFDA, for which he served as president). He’s also served four tours of duty as head of TORBSA, the organization of independent Canadian building supply owners. Greg’s a serious advocate for membership, pointing to organizations as encouraging spaces in which to build confidence, make connections, and gain access to elite minds in the business.
    Outside of his professional and civic engagements, Greg leans on his love of physical activity and learning to stay sharp. The current pandemic mirrors a health crisis he suffered several years ago in that the experience taught him to fully appreciate all he has and to seek out new avenues for strengthening overall wellbeing for the long haul.
    “The three words that I try to live my life by is balance, variety, and moderation.” But he’s not about to take a seat in the bleachers anytime soon. Greg knows that post-pandemic business will require marathoners, not sprinters.
    CONNECT WITH GREG
    Target Building Materials, LTD 
    https://targetsupply.com/

    • 35 min
    Dirk Beveridge on coming out of crisis better than before

    Dirk Beveridge on coming out of crisis better than before

    “It’s all about endurance. We're in this for the long haul and we're going to need the grit, we're going to need to know that what we do is important enough that what we do contributes to so many lives and to society...  We owe it to ourselves to dig deep and find that grit that gets us over that finish line.” ~Dirk Beveridge
    Dirk Beveridge first appeared on DT episode 022, sharing his formidable insight into the steps distributorships could take to successfully navigate rapid changes.
    A prescient conversation in light of COVID-19. In this latest conversation, Dirk offers insight into what leaders can do now so their companies thrive in the brave new world of post-pandemic commerce. He also unveils Shift To Tomorrow, his latest program designed specifically for leaders managing through this (or any other) crisis.
    “I elect to create the future and I think that's what we have the opportunity to do.” Dirk’s irrepressible optimism is balanced by levelheaded foresight. He’s under no illusions that post-pandemic transformation will take a lot of elbow grease, a commodity that’s already in limited supply for even the most successful distributors. 
    Shelter-in-place orders have obliterated some long-range plans while accelerating others and, suddenly, the future is a lot closer than we ever realized. “We know the world's going to change,” says Dirk. “We got to identify those opportunities...we're going to have to seize an opportunity that's out there.” 
    ***
    Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.   
    http://www.distributionteam.com
    This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.
    Connect with Jason on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonbader
    Connect with Dirk on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dirkbeveridge
    ***
    Not one for perpetuating ‘do as I say, not as I do’ dogma, he’s identified a need for community and solidarity in the midst of the pandemic and made a quick pivot of his own. Shift To Tomorrow was born out of his tremendous sense of service to the industry and the people he loves. “We said, ‘What are we going to do?’ And before we said [that], we said, ‘What does our tribe need?’ They need to be hugged. They need to be inspired. They need insight. And, they need connection.” 
    The virtual program, which began with his open letter to the industry, guides decision-makers through crisis management and future-proofing by reassessing five core points of their business: vision, culture, value proposition, business model, and transformative leadership. 
    Dirk believes companies can effectively come out of crisis stronger than they went in by reinforcing that five-point foundation. ”I think each of those five things are going to require change and in some cases, transformation,” he says, but the C-suite couldn’t ask for a better cheerleader.
    "The weight of responsibility they have, in good times and bad times, the risk they take, the vision they create for the future, what they create out of thin air…,” he says, equally awed and inspired by their contributions, “I believe we take that entrepreneurialism for granted.” It’ll take renewed endurance and recalibrated plan but Dirk’s in distribution’s corner.
    BONUS! Check out the resources Dirk mentioned here: 
    Innovate! How Successful Distributors Lead Change In Disruptive Times
    Conversation with Saul Kaplan: Using The Pandemic As A Launchpad For Business Innovation
    UnleashWD
    Shift to Tomorrow

    • 44 min
    Kip Miller on managing through challenges, core values, and answering The Big Question

    Kip Miller on managing through challenges, core values, and answering The Big Question

    “I've told our people over the years say, we're not just selling pipe valves...we're actually helping build automobiles and airplanes and chemicals that are used in just about everything in the country and I tried to paint a bigger picture of, you know, how important we really are.” -Kip Miller
    Kip Miller, president and CEO of Eastern Industrial Supply Inc. out of Greenville, SC, shares with us some of the lessons he’s learned about managing - and growing - through challenges. Our conversation touches on Kip’s initial trial by fire and the question anyone who wants to become a better leader and a happier person should ask themselves: How do you want to live?
    “The only place where real, true learning takes place is trial and error through making mistakes.” And, with that, Kip busts the myth that exemplary leaders are infallible from day one on the job. 
    His story, and that of his company, is one with peaks and valleys to rival any great novel. The fresh-faced college grad lands a great job just before recession hits the early 80s and stays on through a buyout, loyal to the man who originally hired him. 
    But his good fortune is followed by bittersweet opportunity when his boss is struck by illness and a massive heart attack, leaving the company in his hands. Kip was just 29 years old when he inherited Eastern Supply’s 12 employees and debt load. “I certainly didn't have the leadership or the business experience I needed. But, I certainly went through a quick business education.” 
    The original dozen stuck by him, forging on and slowly paying down the debt. “Then we picked up a huge... project of a new textile mill being built. We were off and running and we've not looked back since.”
    ***
    Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.   
    http://www.distributionteam.com
    This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.
    Connect with Jason on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonbader/
    Connect with Kip on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kip-miller/

    ***
    The company may not be looking back, but Kip has. As an introspective thought-leader, his posts are refreshingly transparent. He’s not shy of detailing his struggles or discussing the changes he’s put into practice on his way to becoming the leader - the person - he’s always wanted to be. 
    “I used to be a person that played their cards really close to the vest and didn't want anybody to see you sweat,” he says about his earlier management persona, the silent intimidator. “So, I had to learn about who I was, what my personality type was, where I was challenged in those areas, and what steps I needed to take to overcome those.” 
    He credits his original employees for bringing some of those early management shortcomings to his attention and for helping him create a company culture that remains, to this day, steadfastly aligned with its five core values: caring, honesty, integrity, self-responsibility, and positivity.
    Kip views those principles as the bedrock of Eastern Industrial Supply’s service to the country, painting the bigger picture as he reminds his staff that they’re not just selling plumbing parts, they’re actually helping to build all the industries that keep the country running. 
    Kip’s message is doubly important as the world ventures into the uncharted territory of a global pandemic. And now is the perfect time for leaders at every level to ask themselves his simple question: “How do I want to live? I think that's a tremendously important question.”
    Listen in to find out how Kip’s planning to live his answer.
     
    BONUS BOOK CLUB: Recommendations from Kip’s own reading. 
    The Man In The Mirror - by Pat

    • 32 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
12 Ratings

12 Ratings

Mcq0823 ,

excellent podcast

Great podcast to learn about what is going on in the business and even ways to optimize growth.

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