October 5, 2022
Hollywood loves to cast artificial intelligence as the villain. In reality, AI is more likely to win best supporting character accolades from those in the c-suite, says Nelson Valderrama, founder of Intuilize, the AI-driven firm specializing in helping distributors use analytics to optimize pricing, purchasing, and inventory management. Jason chats with Nelson about AI’s ability to sift through reams of data to unlock profitability, strengthen B2B relationships, and enhance employee productivity, not overtake humans.
Before introducing Intuilize solutions to a potential client, Nelson knows he must first perform a bit of PR on behalf of the artificial intelligence industry. “We need to be better at explaining AI,” he admits, noting the highly effective job entertainment outlets have done painting AI as an all-consuming enemy.
On the surface, entertainment outlets and wholesale distribution have little in common. Dig deeper, say down to a P and L statement, and you’ll find that AI is great for both bottom lines. If only folks in senior distribution roles embraced the tech as readily as their Millennial and GenZ team members, says Nelson, they too would realize the transformative power of AI.
“The adoption of technology in our industry is really, really slow.” Nelson doesn’t make that claim lightly. He has 25+ years of experience in Latin America and the United States, beginning his career with GE, then moving to GE Capital before seeking opportunities with smaller, more agile companies. All the while, he maintained his fondness for distributors.
“What I found out about all owners is that they have really good instincts. I'm not saying all the time it’s right, but typically it’s quite fine-tuned.” In 2019, he founded Intuilize to help owners assess their data more accurately and bet on the most lucrative actions with fewer risky gambles.
Inventory management is just one of Intuilize’s specialties. It’s also where most owners miss vital intel. Intuilize captures the SKU journey from start to finish, then alerts clients when anomalies occur. It’s an example of how tech supports the human aspects of moving products and maintaining relationships. “That's what really motivates me, to help distributors transform their communities, transform the company,” Nelson says. “I want to be part of that.”
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“There are certain things that have changed in 20 years, and there are things that are still the same. I think relationships, at the end of the day, we are humans, and we gravitate to that, knowing someone and having that relationship for sure.”
“It's not about technology; it's not about us. It's not about anything. It's about the new generation; those guys are wired differently.”
“I think AI and technology itself, the challenge is about how we frame it to the owners in a way where they can understand how that technology is going to help their business or not.”
“Any implementation that we do or anyone does, the success has to do with user adoption.”
“Today, with all the changes that we had in the supply chain, most of the algorithms that you can use in the ERP systems are not going to work because they are based only on historical data and historical data before Covid and after Covid has plenty of noise.”
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: INxSQL Distribution Software, integrated distribution ERP software designed for the wholesale and distribution industry