Gaps in education

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Over my career, I have formed relationships with other second- and third-generation professionals in the distribution industry. I spent over half of my professional life as the second-generation heir apparent in my family business. Although I did not remain with that company, I received quite an education in what it feels like to be that next one up to bat. Additionally, I found that there were several gaps in my education that would have better prepared me for this responsibility. The more you can fill in these gaps, and follow a few best practices, the better chance you have for a successful transition. As many other family business people have experienced, I went to work in the warehouse at an early age. I often joke with audiences that my father broke a few child lab  [Read More...]

The Factory Sales Guy

Monday, July 23, 2018
I thought it might be appropriate to share a bit from a recent conversation with the head of channel sales for a major manufacturer serving our industry. Here is the question that started the conversation: I am continuing the journey of coaching some of our field salespeople on what a distributor salesperson wants from a factory salesperson. Do you have any references, articles or anything that might be pertinent? Try as I might, I could not find any reasonably sound advice for our kind of selling efforts. The few articles I did locate seemed to be one-sided in their tone. With this in mind, let’s take the next six minutes to explore the topic from both sides. While I was never allowed into the organization, I’ve heard the Boy Scout credo at leas  [Read More...]

Dealing effectively with the competition

Monday, July 23, 2018
This would be a great business if it weren’t for the competition! Unfortunately, the existence of the competition impacts every industry, every business and every sales position. What the competition does or does not do can make a dramatic impact upon a company and a salesperson. That impact can range from squeezing you to the point where you go out of business on one extreme, to creating tremendous opportunities for growth and profits on the other. The competition and their potential impact on your business is a fact of life. No matter how hard you wish, you are not going to be able to make the competition go away. While we can’t change the competition, we certainly are responsible for our attitudes and behaviors toward the competition. What we say and how we act a  [Read More...]

Splitting Up the Shift

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Your business may be just one crew away from success I was recently doing a private seminar for client and the topic of cycle counting came up. I was doing my standard talk about when to count and how many items we needed to count to stay on track. I happened to glance over at the operations manager, and I could tell that he was having a tough time grasping the timing and labor allocation required to perform a solid cycle count. This is not uncommon and tends to be a difficult sticking point with many companies. The company has grown substantially over the years, and the bodies in the warehouse are a direct reflection of that growth. Before I totally lost him, I threw out a suggestion, “Have you ever considered a second shift or at least staggered the one you have?” His head   [Read More...]

Multiple perspectives produce a better understanding of any situation

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Business decision-making is a tough go. In many cases, it’s a lonely process. Owners often have no one to talk to. Executives don’t want to bother their owners, don’t want the owner to know about their uncertainty or don’t want the owner meddling in their kingdom. This conundrum cascades through all levels of the company. So let’s talk about improving decision-making. Use a consultant: As consultants, we fully endorse this self-serving course of action. Some thoughts on consultants: Consultants can often provide objective recommendations that leverage their experience with other companies, in similar situations. Ideally their experience would be with companies in the same industry as the client’s. While there are some similarities between all businesses, we think in  [Read More...]