September 15, 2021
Why would anyone spend 97 days on the road visiting 34 privately-held distributors in the middle of a pandemic? To champion the noble cause of distribution, of course!
Jason catches up with Dirk Beveridge, fresh from his We Supply America tour. Beyond the business strategies and innovation beats the heart of this industry: humanity. Dirk shares some of the people-powered stories he captured during this epic journey, offering his patented brand of inspiration and encouragement as well as resources to spark company-wide conversations.
“Everybody in my business network tried to talk me out of it,” Dirk laughs as he launches into the impetus for his 16,000 cross-country trek. After 18 months stuck in his office, unable to get out on the road and talk to people, Dirk had had enough. Anyone who’s ever met Dirk knows this visionary entrepreneur and award-winning keynote speaker for his superpower: telling stories about the industry he loves. “This project was really about coming back and finding it, finding Dirk.”
What he found instead was renewed faith in the strength and resilience inherent to distribution. We Supply America is more than a love letter to the industry, however. It’s a compilation featuring the not-so-secret ingredients that go into making great family-run wholesale distributorships. In an age where the distribution giants seem to be overtaking the world, We Supply America reminds family-run operations that their contribution to this country goes deeper than dollars and cents.
While the C-suite is well represented throughout the eight episodes, Dirk says it’s the chats he had with drivers, warehouse pickers, and outside sales teams, among others, that provided the most compelling revelations.
“Every one of these jobs provides for the unleashing of the human spirit, provides for the individual to grow and to develop and to move towards their potential.” They form the foundation of this noble cause, he says. Their unique vantage point provides valuable insights that management can apply to innovate processes and culture. As for the top-tier decision-makers, Dirk applauds every single one for their commitment during the pandemic.
Owners continue to grapple with a neverending storm of supply chain issues, labor issues, regulation issues––the list is long. “They have overcome every hardship,” he says, adding, “They have accepted the challenge. They have embraced the challenge. They didn't ask for it. They brought their creativity, their grit, their desire, their team, their culture to bear.”
At the end of his travels, Dirk landed on one core truth: folks in distribution are noble; they are essentially the backbone of this country. Now he’s excited to share that message with viewers through the We Supply America series. “It's been touching. It's been enlightening. It's been inspiring, and it’s buoyed me. It's lifted me in terms of the goodness in people, and the goodness of humanity and that business, independent entrepreneurial family-owned businesses that happened to be in the business of distribution are at their core human.”
Like what you hear? Check out Dirk’s resources and his appearances on previous episodes:
DT039: Dirk Beveridge on coming out of crisis better than before
DT022: Dirk Beveridge on innovation, leadership, and legacy
“I think one of the key takeaways that I've had from this 97 days, 34 different distributors; I think 34 different states that I traveled through is it brought back the humanity of business. It brought back the humanity of distribution. It brought back the humanity of what we do.”
“I don't care what your title is, what your role is; we need you and your job. Your role is, in fact, noble.”
“I believe in the cause. I believe in the people; I believe in the importance of distribution. I believe in this country. I believe in entrepreneurialism. I believe that we as individuals and as a country on the surface, we're so damn divided but down deep, we're one.”
“People don't understand the heart of creating, growing, developing a business which supplies America, creates jobs, and provides the freedom that this country was built on.”
“We have to remind ourselves that we are the backbone of this country. We are the backbone of society. We are truly what supplies America with what makes America great.”
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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.
This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.
Special thanks to our sponsor for this episode: HMI Performance Incentives, providing innovative, data-driven B2B incentive solutions