Navigating the Channels of Change

Categories: Distribution, ISSA, Management, Sales & Marketing

By Joan Weis | December 11, 2017 << Back to Articles

The Predicament
We live in rapidly changing times. The familiar ebb and flow of business cycles has been replaced by a systemic shift toward perpetual fluctuation. Successful business owners know that they must continually evolve to stay ahead of the changes and—as always—of the competition. The mystery is how to unleash the spirit of innovation to create a relevant, stronger, and more profitable future as you continue to operate the day-to-day business.

ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, and its training arm, Cleaning Management Institute (CMI), recognize this quandary and offer a solution in the form of The Innovative Distributor, a two-day, hands-on workshop in which participants will take a deep dive into The Innovative Distributor framework to learn practical lessons for creating transformative change. And while a program for suppliers, all member categories can benefit from the useful information. 

The Breakthrough
The newly developed workshop provides a focused approach that helps distribution leaders know where to start as they look to create new, profitable paths forward for the future. 

“We’re helping hundreds of large and small distributors find the right balance,” said Brant Insero, CMI director of education, training, certification and standards. “And when you embrace Dirk’s The Innovative Distributor framework, you find focus, your team finds confidence, and together you create an exciting and profitable future.”

The Expert 
The Innovative Distributor workshop is developed and taught by Dirk Beveridge, author of the groundbreaking National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW) Institute for Distribution Excellence book INNOVATE! How Successful Distributors Lead Change in Disruptive Times. Beveridge has painstakingly researched the state of innovation throughout distribution, and injects a compelling energy and focus into the workshop. 

“We’re collaborating with Dirk to bring his The Innovative Distributor program to ISSA members,” explained Insero. “His main focus is distribution, and he recognizes the fundamental changes going on in our industry. Dirk is an absolute powerhouse of a speaker. With decades of expertise in business development, coaching, and creating disruptive mindsets, he will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire session.”

Beveridge has created a movement within distribution of forward-thinking leaders who know that in today’s technology-driven and competitive marketplace, they must get better faster.

The Content
“This is the age of disruption,” Beveridge asserted. “Our times are changing faster than at any other time in history. We no longer experience traditional business cycles. Three economies—traditional, financial capitalism, and digital—are merging together, and you need to disrupt and innovate in order to survive.”

So, to teach businesses how to transform themselves, Beveridge created The Innovative Distributor workshop. Participants will develop an understanding of the age of disruption, and learn to deal with the eight disruptive trends as they navigate their businesses into a successful future. 

The Innovative Distributor framework has been used by hundreds of companies to dramatically change their trajectory. In the two-day workshop, you will:

  • Learn a proven formula that has been researched and used throughout distribution to achieve a deep understanding of The Innovative Distributor framework and why it’s the most powerful tool to lead your company into the future.
  • See how the formula has been used by the most progressive and successful distributors, and analyze the scenarios to pull inspiration and insights you can apply to your organization.
  • Apply this framework to your leadership approach and your company’s forward-thinking strategy to gain the tools you need to create unparalleled growth and forward momentum. 

The Metamorphosis 
Andrew Berlin, chairman and CEO of Berlin Packaging, took away valuable lessons from Beveridge’s approach: “The efforts [Dirk has] made in the industry are no less than spectacular. I don’t know of any thought leader in distribution that has done the kind of work and the kind of research with the kind of passion and energy [he has].”

After a session with Beveridge, Berlin understood that mere tweaks to the business model were not good enough. Instead, the company leaned forward to determine how it could create, deliver, and capture value in new ways and with an entirely new business model. 

In short, Berlin Packaging now behaves like a manufacturer, distributor, sales consultant, and financial advisor for its customers with the vision to increase sales, lower costs, and improve efficiencies.

It’s simply human nature: People (customers, suppliers, and employees) are drawn to those with a vision and a commitment to a better future. If they sense hesitation or uncertainty in your commitment, they’ll look past you for alternatives that provide the confidence and inspiration they crave. 

Once you align your team around The Innovative Distributor model, you’ll see an energy and optimism that attracts the most profitable customers, the most innovative suppliers, and best employees. 

The Future
How much does an unaligned and uninspired team cost your business in lost clientele and profits? How much potential profit is sacrificed because you blend in with the competition? What are the growth and profit ramifications of an antiquated operational approach? The absence of The Innovative Distributor framework in the crux of your strategic thinking is costing you more than you think.

ISSA members can register for these two-days of essential learning for only US$749 per person or two or more members for $500 each. Nonmembers are also welcome. 

To register, visit or contact CMI Training Development Specialist Lucas Wendt at [email protected] or 847-982-0800. 

This article originally appeared in the December 2017 edition of ISSA Today.

About the Author.

Joan Weis is the Senior Marketing Communications Specialist for ISSA. She can be reached at [email protected]