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GTDC Panel: Distribution Taking Ever-Changing Challenges Head-On

Joseph F. Kovar

Whether it’s new investments, supply chain constraints or the move to Everything as a Service, distributors have the resilience to shift their business to better serve their partner communities, according to a panel of distribution executives at the GTDC Forum 2021.

Productivity Improvements From COVID -19 

Bay said it is apparent that the work-from-anywhere movement is here to stay, and that it has a positive impact on productivity.

“What I personally learned is that work became an outcome, and not a time or a place,” he said.

The lines between work and daily life significantly blurred as a result of so many workers staying at home because of the pandemic, Bay said.

“And it changed for all of us,” he said. ”I traveled the year before COVID 260,000 miles on one airline and spent over 100 nights in hotels. But with the great collaboration tools like we have today, we‘re going to spend a couple of hours with you today to stay connected and then we’re going to go about our day.”

Bay said he recently held a couple of CEO meetings on a single day.

“And in the old world, that would have taken three or four days,” he said. ”I would have had to go travel to have a conversation, come back to the office, and now I can do that in multiple hours instead of multiple days. So collaboration and remote working mean great productivity for all of us.”

However, relationships are still super critical, Bay said.

“So I think we‘ll have to balance this work-from-home and face-to-face meetings with virtual meetings,” he said. ”I’d love to be with all of you in a location shaking hands and seeing each other again. So we’re really going to have to operate through this. And it’s really going to come down to that user experience.”

The pandemic has also shown the need to drive modernization of systems, Bay said.

“There‘s still way too many manual touches on how we collectively do business,” he said. ”As an industry, we have to drive more automation, better processes. And it all starts with [us] to help to continue to drive productivity. ... It’s expected. And ultimately, if we do it right, when we do it right, we’re going to all have a better experience.”