November 17, 2021
In order to compete in business, you need to be willing to change your ways. Jason talks about recruiting and retaining talent in the digital age with Marc Beerman, President and CEO of Beerman Precision in Beerman Precision is a New Orleans based rental, sales and service company focused on the industrial construction market.
Marc learned the importance of understanding finances early on from his father, Ralph, who founded the company as a side hustle while working full time and raising a family. Quoting a lesson from his dad, Marc says, “Don’t let tax returns fool you. Sometimes you make money on paper, but you have no cash.” This insistence motivated Marc to go back to school after completing his engineering degree to get another degree… this time in finance.
Marc came into the business in the early 1980s when the business was crashing due to the bottom dropping out of the oil industry. His solution was to stop buying inventory. “I said, ‘We need to be cash rich, inventory lean’… so that when things turn around we have enough capital to make it through.” And make it through, they did, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that they were able to start growing again.
Over his 3+ decades of leadership Marc has weathered storms (literally and figuratively) and has navigated changes in branches, technology, and more. Like many DT guests, he says one of the best business decisions he made was joining the board at STAFDA, eventually even serving as president. “You learn tremendous amounts from being around people who know a lot more than you.”
One of the things that lights Marc up is seeing young people coming into STAFDA. He and Jason agree that they need even more young folks entering distribution as a career. Marc says the problem is that distribution isn’t a visible industry, rather it’s more behind the scenes. Jason quips, “We’re boxes in, boxes out!”
The corner Marc is turning now is to focus more on e-commerce, an area where he sees some companies excelling and a lot who are lagging behind. He feels like this is an area where there is opportunity for smaller companies to play. The challenge is to recruit and retrain a different type of talent than what they have previously been accustomed to. Pitching your company to a potential candidate can be a bit of a role reversal. For Beerman, Marc is asking the critical question “What makes us a valuable place for someone to make a career?”
His solution is giving young candidates a career path, helping them see what the future may hold for them when they come to work for Beerman. He cites Evergreen Marketing Group as a valuable partner, providing members with financial incentives toward investing in training for their employees. He sees this as part of his pitch to attract talent, and says, “It's been a great win for many of our employees, but it also was a win, believe it or not, for some employees that didn't stay with us.” Ultimately, he says regardless of the risk, it’s worth the investment either way.
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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.
“The world is filled with expertise and the surprising part is how people within an industry group are willing to help.”
“You go from them trying to sell you that they're the right candidate for the job to now, you're trying to sell them that you're the right company for them to accept the position.”
“We have to be a little bit careful, when we're mapping out a career path for somebody, that we understand their personality and what they want first.”
“It's a good pitch for [your employees] to say, ‘Hey, even if you don't make a career with us, you're going to get benefit from your time here.’”