L&R Distributors Builds a Bridge Between Innovation and Humanity

L&R Distributors’ distribution center is nothing short of magic.  Somewhere in the world, someone orders a tube of Chapstick. That order, placed at a customer of a customer, (and many others like it) spurs a chain of reaction that results in a robot picking Chapstick, sending it through the system to the packers to get […]

Eastern Industrial: A Platform for Caring

Consider this: A Christian-based company that’s out to make profit.  At first glance, a statement like that seems contradictory.  How do you serve God by making a profit?  When I met with the folks at Eastern Industrial in Greenville, South Carolina, I learned how these two statements can work together.  Eastern sees their profit as […]

Jaeckle Distributors: Where the Customer Always Comes First

It didn’t take me long to see Jaeckle Distributors’ values at work. Upon entering the lobby, Jeff Jaeckle, President of Jaeckle Distributors, put me to the test. “There’s something as you walk through here that is conspicuously absent. I’m not going to tell you what it is. I want to see if you notice.”  “This […]

C.H. Briggs: Distribution with a Higher Purpose

When CEO Julia Klein’s son was 9, she and her husband decided the fate of their company, C.H. Briggs. This distribution company has been independently owned for three generations. But the Kleins decided there would not be a fourth. Instead, they set forth on a new path of professional management that would remove the family […]

Courage Brought Dakota Supply Group to Where They Are Today

When a severe storm system recently ripped through North Dakota, utility poles fell, and half the state was without power. It was a big deal, affecting thousands of people’s lives.  The Dakota Supply Group team jumped to action. “We met at the office, put a plan together for our team, executed that plan and had […]

Rocket Industrial: The Nobleness of Doing More with Less

Did you know (because I didn’t) that two-thirds of what fills our country’s landfills is packaging?  Rocket Industrial wants to do something about that.  The packaging distributor wants to package with less. They have the noble goal of eliminating 1 million pounds of waste from landfills each year. This company is driven to be a […]

Robert Weed’s Transformation 2.0: Bringing Humanity Into Work

Robert Weed is a third-generation, family-run business with deep-rooted connections to their employees, their community, their suppliers and customers.  They’ve experienced consistent growth. Strong numbers. Satisfied customers. And yet in 2020, before the pandemic began, the leadership team at Robert Weed looked at their 55-year-old company and decided it was time for a total transformation. […]

First Supply Puts the Individual First

Studies show as many as 80% of employees are disengaged at work.  At First Supply, I saw the opposite. Josè Rivera, a branch manager, has been with First Supply for 11 years. When I talked to him, without hesitation, he told me he plans to be there for 11 more, and I wanted to know […]

CUSTOMER-CENTRICITY is the Heart of the Noble Calling of Distribution


“The customer is always right.” It’s an old adage that has been attributed to numerous businessmen and women over the years. I think Marshall Field is the true origin of the quote, but regardless of who said it first, it has certainly been said a lot. I don’t doubt that it has been said by distributors from time to time, though the relationship between distributors and the businesses they supply goes beyond a right or wrong dyna