A Year for the Tried-and-True

This article first appeared in the 2013 Industrial Distribution January/February issue. You can view it here.

I've interviewed plenty of manufacturers throughout my career, and many distributors as well. But it wasn't until I sat down with Tom Fodell, president of Barnes Distribution – the focus of this month's Distributor Profile, page 18 – that I heard a distributor talk about Lean quite so passionately.

You see, the folks at Barnes discuss Lean much in the same way manufacturers like Toyota do—like it's their life blood. It's almost as if they can't imagine their businesses any other way.

For Tom Fodell, I suspect this is true. He says Lean drives out waste for Barnes, which translates to an improvement in the ability to remain competitive. It's become so much a part of their culture that it seems Lean thinking permeates nearly every decision they make.

In business, we often find inspiration in the familiar—the parts of our operational strategies that are truly tried-and-true. We know the benefits are there because we've seen them time and again.

So, speaking of tried-and-true...

On behalf of the entire staff here at Industrial Distribution, I am anxious to share some exciting news with you. We have had the opportunity to invite a familiar face to re-join our editorial team, and I'm delighted to inform you that Jack Keough will once again lend his spirit, insight, and experience to the pages of our magazine.

As many of you know, Jack served as the editor of ID for nearly thirty years—and can be credited with launching the Big 50 List. We're thrilled that he will be continuing to participate in a brand that he helped build, by serving as contributing editor.

Check out the premier of Jack's print column – A Closer Look with Jack Keough  – on page 30 of this issue. Jack's regular column will provide detailed analysis of distribution companyactivity and performance, as well as its impacts on the future of the industry. This month's article will focus on MSC, so be sure to check it out.

You can also anticipate regular blogs in the ID daily e-newsletter, Today in Industrial Distribution, as well as Jack's participation in our webinars, video series, and much more.

As we welcome Jack back, we also welcome a new year with open arms. If there is anything we can do to best target your critical business issues in the coming months, I'd encourage you to drop me a line at Anna.wells@advantagemedia.com, and we'll try to help in any way we can.

Happy 2013!