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Building AI Technology for Distribution with the Human Mind in Mind with Jason Sullivan of Distro

Episode: 157

There’s a reason for all the chatter around artificial intelligence on Distribution Talk: early adopters gain a competitive edge that’s hard to beat. Jason Bader welcomes Jason Sullivan, founder and CEO of Distro AI, to expand on the AI conversation.

They discuss Distro AI’s process for leveraging vast amounts of raw data (think: key industry insights and thousands of product SKUs) to create rep-friendly, real-time recommendations that boost sales and customer satisfaction. The pair also preview AskA2L, Distro’s intuitive AI chat feature purpose-built for HARDI.

“I don’t come from the [distribution] space originally,” admits Jason S. “This is what I say to people: I came for the market opportunity––and there’s a real opportunity here––but I stayed for the people.” Jason S.’s sincerity may have secured him the introductions, but his AI expertise and understanding of how people use technology have kept him in the game. “You don’t often see folks with a pure technology and behavioral psychology-type of background [in distribution],” says the Yale and Stanford-educated technologist. “But that’s what I’m all about, marrying those two together.” He’s exceeded his goal at Distro AI, strategically designing a platform with distribution’s people and products in mind. 

AI skeptics searching for real-world applications need look no further than HARDI. The association, which represents 450+ HVACR wholesalers, tapped Distro AI to create a tool as support for its members during the industry transition to A2L refrigerants. The result? AskA2L, an AI chatbot that provides timely, accurate, and highly curated answers specific to the various needs of folks within the HVACR ecosystem, from install professionals to wholesale executives to field reps.

Distro AI’s collaboration with HARDI highlights the tech company’s ability to mitigate industry pain points at their source and accommodate nuances within a particular vertical market. “You have to speak to the right people and have the right perspective on what AI can and can’t do,” counsels Jason S. The user input is critical to creating an AI solution that empowers front-line teams (counter staff, sales reps), improves efficiencies, and closes more sales. “We’ve got our specialty, but the real experts are the boots on the ground.”


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Jason Sullivan

“There’s a lot of hype in terms of AI and what it can do for the space, and that hype is largely warranted. There’s a lot of noise, too.”

“It’s really the perfect time for an AI-powered solution like what we bring to the market.”

“We’re here to solve whatever problems we can, leveraging the latest and greatest in AI and the distribution space.”

“We pride ourselves on our ability to build and maintain a sophisticated data mouse trap.”

“We don’t know what we don’t know. We’re on this journey together, and we’ve got our toolset, and you’ve got your toolset, and we’re just trying to figure things out with the power of AI.”








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 by The Creative Impostor Studios.

Special thanks to our sponsor for this episode: Moblico, helping businesses do more business on mobile devices.

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