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Around the Horn in Wholesale Distribution is the weekly podcast sponsored by LeadSmart Technologies that takes a deep dive into the topics impacting manufacturers, wholesale distribution, independent sales agents, and the global wholesale supply chain. Hosted by Kevin Brown, a 30-year veteran of wholesale distribution, and Tom Burton, a recognized thought leader in SaaS platforms for distributors, each episode reveals a unique perspective and valuable information about wholesale distribution ...
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AI is changing the landscape of B2B eCommerce faster than we can imagine...and sometimes, faster than businesses can keep up with. In this episode, Kevin and Tom discuss the challenges—and improvements—AI can pose to the economy, supply chain, manufacturing, distribution, e-commerce, marketing, cybersecurity, and more. We start by taking a deep div…
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As AI advances on a seemingly daily basis, wholesale distributors have a new tool to establish thought leadership, create marketing innovations, and deepen partnerships with manufacturers. But how does this new tool work? And is it authentic? On this week's episode, Kevin and Tom take a closer look at the impact of B2B AI on content creation, and t…
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Do you know what a buying signal is? Could you read one if you saw one? And if you can recognize them, what do they tell you? If you're a little lost, you're not alone. Buying signals refer to the various behaviors, content consumption, and social interactions that indicate a potential buyer's interest and engagement with a product or service. In t…
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Let's face it: when it comes to the tech adoption curve, wholesale distributors and manufacturers can be a little behind (Are you? Hint: if you don't know what "adoption curve" means, you are). On this episode, we dive into the critical role that digital resources play in driving both growth and customer engagement. From providing valuable digital …
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AI may be the most recent technology game-changer for wholesale distribution and manufacturing, but it's by no means the only one. In this week's episode, we're joined by guest Lin Chase, Ph.D., a 35-year veteran of enterprise technology and artificial intelligence and University Administrator. Together, we discuss the evolving landscape of technol…
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A monster acquisition is reshaping wholesale distribution and manufacturing: Home Depot's acquisition of SRS distribution, a move that expands their reach to tradesmen and building materials across 47 states. What's the real magic behind this move? It emphasizes the importance of meeting buyers where they are and adapting to their preferences. In t…
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In this week's episode, Kevin and Tom are joined by Scott Costa, Publisher of the Electrical Distributor magazine (tED). Scott gives his unique insight to the importance of data-driven decisions in B2B marketing and the false allure of solely relying on intent data, emphasizing the need to focus on creating demand earlier in the process rather than…
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These are tumultuous times in wholesale distribution: U.S. small business sentiment fell in February to the lowest level since May due to continued concerns around inflation. In addition, the consumer price index, a broad measure of goods and services costs, increased 0.4% for the month and 3.2% from a year ago. Combine this with strikes at East Co…
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According to Reuters, U.S. wholesale inventories fell more than initially thought in January of 2024, which could negatively impact economic growth estimates for the first quarter. Inventories dropped 0.3% instead of dipping 0.1% as estimated last month. At January's sales pace it would take wholesalers 1.36 months to clear shelves, up from 1.34 mo…
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In the competitive world of wholesale distribution, businesses are increasingly recognizing the transformative power of tailoring their marketing efforts to meet the unique needs of individual clients and stakeholders. It's no longer a "one size fits all" marketplace: personalizing your customer journey and customer experience is key to retaining b…
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In 2006, there were less than 80 B2B marketplaces in the world. Within the next two years, that number will top 1,000. At the same time, Generative AI is reshaping the job market, subtly influencing job postings rather than triggering widespread layoffs. The tools for wholesale distribution and wholesale manufacturing are increasing exponentially..…
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For the first time in two decades, the U.S. has purchased more goods from Mexico than it has from China, providing further evidence for how much global trading patterns have shifted. Indeed, supply chain managers have seen an increasing need to adopt new technologies, including a growing initiative to increase nearshoring or onshoring efforts. Disr…
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The fragility of the world’s supply chains has been underscored again by escalating tensions in the Red Sea and decisions by major shipping companies to bypass the Suez Canal in favor of a longer and safer route around Africa. But "longer" can mean two things: delays in delivery and more expense. What does this mean in the face of other economic fa…
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U.S. business activity picked up in January and inflation appeared to abate, with a measure of prices charged by companies for their products falling to the lowest level in more than 3-1/2 years. Combined with a GDP report indicating growth at a whopping 3.3%, it appears the economy kicked off 2024 on a strong note. So what does that mean for whole…
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The conflict in the Middle East has had repercussions throughout the wholesale distribution industry. According to Reuters, global trade declined by 1.3% from November to December 2023 as militant attacks on merchant vessels in the Red Sea led to a plunge in the volumes of cargo transported in that key region, while CNBC reports that Houthi attacks…
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For a very special episode of Around The Horn, we've assembled a top-notch roundtable of experts in wholesale distribution and manufacturing: Dirk Beveridge, Founder of UnleashWD; Ian Heller of the Distribution Strategy Group; and Mike Marks, Founding Partner at Indian River Consulting Group. Together with Tom & Kevin, we go "Around The Horn" to di…
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Most prognosticators agree: the economic outlook seems pretty rosy as we head into 2024. Construction spending during November 2023 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 11.3% above November 2022, while revenues are expected to increase in 15 of 18 manufacturing industries and 16 of 18 services-sector industries. But do disruptions …
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As 2023 wraps up, wholesale distribution finds itself in a period of unprecedented technological advancement...along with cyber threats to match. While Generative AI and other machine learning tools are being added to ERP at a rapid pace, bringing new levels of automation and efficiency to business processes across the enterprise, threats still con…
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Providing product on time, on budget, and on spec is driving suppliers and retailers at every level to rethink their production and sourcing outside the United States. This onshoring has the potential to benefit not just wholesale distributors, but all kinds of small and mid-cap companies. On this week's podcast, we take a deeper dive into the new …
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Cyberattacks surged this year, with millions of companies falling victim to ransomeware attacks. Ransomeware "gangs" are getting even more sophisticated, targeting organizations with critical user data, such as government and healthcare facilities. How do you keep your all-important data safe, especially as you integrate more AI into your systems? …
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Last week, the government upgraded its estimate for quarterly economic growth to a 5.2% annualized rate. But what really drove that growth? Meanwhile, Amazon quietly became the biggest parcel delivery business in the United States...but how? And what will happen to the economy downstream when the economic impact of the UAW strike hits manufacturers…
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With the UAW strikes getting resolved, hiring for the holiday season, falling mortgage interest rates, and a 10% rise in the stock market, are we seeing a real turnaround in the economy? If so, what will the impact be for wholesale distribution? This week, we take a closer look at the latest news on the late-year economy. We also look at AI advance…
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All things AI took some twists and turns this week. After the Biden Administration announced plans to help regulate AI, some companies are left scrambling for answers on what it all means. Meanwhile, Amazon disclosed an ambitious effort to train Large Language Models in a manner that will allow them to compete with the biggest names in AI technolog…
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According to Reuters, small and medium-sized companies in Germany are turning to automation as the gradual exit from the workplace of Germany's post-war "baby boom" generation tightens the labor squeeze. Can we expect to see the same thing here in the U.S., and will further increases in automation create a new boon for wholesale distributors? This …
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Everyone talks about using data to help generate sales, but what does that really mean in a B2B environment when your data is spread out all across the supply chain? This week, Kevin and Tom feature guest Ron Paulson, a 30-year veteran of Granger and now the Founder of Paulson Advisory, to give an insider's view about the best way to find, mine, an…
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Do you assume that a prospective customer moves seamlessly from awareness to consideration to conversation in a pre-determined way? If so, you may be in for a shock. According to a new report, many B2B marketing experts agree the traditional marketing funnel is no longer fit for purpose. This week, we're joined by Dan Vanacore, Director of New Busi…
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According to Reuters, U.S. manufacturing took a step further towards recovery in September as production picked up and employment rebounded, while prices paid for inputs by factories fell considerably. In fact, B2B buyers are placing more frequent orders online, according to Forrester Research. Is this post-COVID recovery real, and how will this po…
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Ever notice how news stories about the economy increasingly appear side-by-side with stories about AI? There's a link between these two very important elements, as well as with their big brother: data. On this week's episode, we're joined by Will Quinn, Director of Industry Solution & Strategy at Infor, to reveal this fascinating interconnection an…
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With the United Auto Workers strike in full swing at 3 facilities, production at U.S. factories barely rose in August as motor vehicle output dropped, and further activity could plunge in the months ahead. What does this mean for the near term and long term outlook for wholesale distribution? This week, Kevin and Tom are joined by Mike Mortensen, P…
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Did you miss ISA Summer Sessions? Then we've got you covered! This week, Tom & Kevin are joined by Kristin Kraai-Keely and Brandon Breen, who organized these informative ISA sessions. We'll review the most important topics and key takeaways from these talks and get you up to date. And if you were able to attend, you won't want to miss these unique,…
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According to a recent Digital Commerce 360 survey, B2B eCommerce growth is continuing in the wholesale distribution sector...yet only 17% of those surveyed said they offered full end-to-end integration of commerce transactions. Is your company one of those, and are you missing out on this exciting growth trend? This week, Tom and Kevin dive into th…
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Manufacturing activity in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region grew at its strongest pace since April 2022, as new orders surged amidst robust consumer demand. But at the same time, government data reveals that for the first six months of 2023, all distribution and manufacturing sales were flat at about $10.93 trillion. What's the deal here? To find out, w…
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Understanding the relationship—and unintended consequences—of how economic factors intertwine is not an easy thing to wrap your head around. But this week, Tom & Kevin are joined by Ian Heller, founder of Distribution Strategy Group, to talk about how ongoing economic changes impact wholesale distribution. We also discuss the risks associated with …
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Is the metaverse just the next wave of video gaming, or the future of wholesale distribution? The industrial metaverse enables more resilient supply chains and localized manufacturing through the use of existing tools such as digital twins. In an interesting contrast, four in ten people expect AI to improve work quality and creativity, while three …
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Believe it or not, we've been producing Around The Horn in Wholesale Distribution for a year now! To celebrate, we're joined by David Gordon, President of Channel Marketing Group, to take a look at the state of wholesale distribution. Consumer confidence is up, unemployment is down, but fears of recession are still on the horizon. How does that mak…
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Some distributors are choosing to go beyond the traditional e-commerce channel and venture into the B2B marketplace space, and they are seeing a massive ROI as a result. Are you prepared to make the same leap? This week, Kevin and Tom discuss how your data—and the way you manage it—is key to making successful eComm moves. Spoiler alert: if distribu…
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This week, Kevin and Tom are proud to feature guest Dirk Beveridge, the visionary entrepreneur and the founder of UnleashWD, the premier design, strategy, and innovation firm in wholesale distribution. In an in-depth, hour-long conversation, Dirk discusses his takes on topics ranging from AI in manufacturing to online buyers and much more. It's a c…
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There's no two ways around it: every wholesale distributor will eventually need a B2B Amazon strategy. This week, Tom & Kevin feature author, consultant, coach, and all-around B2B guru Brian Beck to Around The Horn to talk about what this all-important customer journey should look like. In addition, Brian shares his insights to supply chain logisti…
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Data integrity, data security, and supply chain efficiency may be three of the most important issues facing wholesale distribution in the 21st century. And with the advent and proliferation of AI, security and integrity take on new challenges we could not have predicted even two years ago. In this episode, Kevin and Tom take a deep dive into how wh…
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Where is the data kept in your business? Is it...all over the place? Then you're not alone, but a little clean-up would do your business good. Marketing automation software, ERP, CRM, data warehouses, are just some of the different place where your valuable data can be stored, but the importance of "clean data" and managing that data properly can m…
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Six months after ChatGPT became an overnight success, The U.S. and the EU are racing to develop rules and draft laws to address both the benefits and risks of generative AI. At the same time, CNBC reports that Generative AI in supply chains will be able to forecast demand, predict when trucks need maintenance, and work out optimal shipping routes, …
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If you thought that wholesale distributors didn't need to concern themselves with ChatGPT and the whole AI phenomenon, think again. Buyers are using ChatGPT—even in their cars—to do research and price shopping. In this episode, Kevin and Tom look at this and other surprises in the eCommerce purchasing space. As nine out of 10 manufacturers intend t…
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The effects of COVID are still taking their toll on wholesale distribution. The bad news? The maritime supply chain is beginning to break, with delays at processing terminals along the west coast. But the good news? Manufactured goods orders saw their 4th rise in 5 months. So how do wholesale distributors profit long term in an environment where bu…
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72% of respondents in a 225 U.S. executives survey recently conducted by KPMG said that generative AI could play an important role in increasing productivity. So whose role is it: business divisions or IT? In this episode of Around The Horn, Kevin and Tom discuss how B2B marketers are hopeful about AI, and the reasons why some are even upbeat about…
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U.S. economic activity rose to a 13-month high in May, despite a cooldown in the manufacturing sector. How much of a cooldown? Container volumes slumped at ports on the East and West coasts, as some of the largest facilities saw year-over-year double-digit drops. It's a Yo-Yo economy, and if you're not planning for it, you could find your business …
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Confusion between distributors, dealers, and manufacturers can wreak havoc on the customer channel, costing you valuable business. On this week's episode, Kevin and Tom are joined by Brandon Lee to talk about how fixation on the customer experience is key to the success of your wholesale distribution model. In our continuing discussion on artificia…
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The future is here whether we like it or not: 73% of companies use generative AI tools to create text, images, videos, or other marketing content, while Forbes predicts that companies that can successfully leverage the opportunities offered by automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and other pillars of the “fourth industrial revolution” have eve…
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Artificial Intelligence negotiating price and purchasing terms? Industry 4.0 technologies creating immediately sustainable practices? Nearshoring, automation, and supplier diversification? It's not science fiction...it's the wholesale distribution environment of today. On this week's episode, Kevin and Tom take a look at how the digital world of WD…
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It may seem upside down, but it's the question that everyone is asking: are distributors growing faster than the manufacturers that supply their goods? In this episode, Kevin and Tom discuss the implications of this growing trend. In addition, we take a look at "Near Shoring" in the supply chain - the rising popularity of taking things from off-sho…
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Revenues generated through Amazon Business have grown by 40% as its global customer base increased by 20% over the past two years. Meanwhile, McKinsey's research finds that 70% of B2B decision makers are prepared to spend up to $500,000 in a single ecommerce transaction. What does this mean for wholesale distribution? That the times are indeed a-ch…
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