Seven values that define successful distribution operations

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Updated Oct 21, 2021
Dirk Beveridge
Dirk Beveridge speaking about "the noble calling of distribution" during the distributor educational session at VIPAR Heavy Duty's IMPACT Conference Monday in Marco Island, Fla.

If it wasn’t obvious before, Dirk Beveridge says the last two years have made it abundantly clear how important independent distribution is to modern America.

When COVID hit, Beveridge said he knew the world was going to change. But he also knew that America wouldn’t have to fight the pandemic alone. Thanks to the “noble calling of distribution” and the people within it, Beveridge knew America’s most essential industries would remain strong in the face of an unbelievable challenge.

And, after a summer of touring America as part of his “We Supply America” campaign, Beveridge says he’s learned independent distributors succeed not only because they stock the right products, but also because of seven deeply rooted, ubiquitous corporate values.

During the distributor educational session Monday at the VIPAR Heavy Duty IMPACT Conference, Beveridge shared the nobility of those values and why he believes independent distribution will remain integral to the economy for decades to come.

[RELATED: VIPAR Heavy Duty gives update on parts sourcing, other initiatives at conference]

  • Purpose: Beveridge says successful independent distributors are “in search of something more.” Their priorities go beyond products or services. He says distributors often have an intense desire to serve others and create something meaningful. Beveridge says the distributors he’s met have an emotional connection to service. They want their businesses to make a difference in the lives of the people they touch. 
  • People: How distributors view their people is equally unique. Beveridge says successful distribution businesses are platforms for personal and professional growth for employees. He says he’s met so many distributor professionals over the years who rose through the ranks of their companies because their employer motivated them to aspire for something more and reach their full potential.
  • Family: Beveridge says successful distribution businesses “embrace the humanity of the individual.” Employers and colleagues have deep bonds and concern for each other. He says he’s met many distributor associates in his career who came to their employer from a larger national business because they “felt like a number” and weren’t valued as people. He says independent distribution businesses show dignified respect for their associates.
  • Ownership mindset: Successful independent distributors and their employees are in this together, Beveridge says. Everyone is on the same page and works toward the same goals. Beveridge says this is most evident through the transparency he sees in small businesses. He adds the ownership mindset also creates empowerment within a workforce — employees want to do what’s necessary to help the business and customer.
  • Customer centricity: Beveridge says independent distributors are “fully and absolutely committed” to helping their customers succeed. He says noble distributors are laser-focused on always identifying and satisfying the needs to their customers. He says that commitment creates a bond with customers. People want to do business with companies who show they care about helping them.
  • Expertise: Good distributors also are relentlessly focused on providing value. In the independent distributor world, Beveridge says this is most evident in the commitment businesses make to be subject matter experts for their customers. He says many great independent distributors often win business not on price, but on knowledge, reliability.
  • Profit: Finally, Beveridge is adamant that “profit is noble.” He says profit provides for investment in people, tools, resources, customers and communities. It drives growth opportunities and corporate freedom. And he says distributors shouldn’t shy away from acknowledging their desire for profit. “Six million jobs [in distribution] are created due to the profit you create,” he says.
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