Managing your Operations During the Coronavirus Pandemic

BY UNleashWD
4/13/2020 - COVID-19

In an effort to continue to try and provide our members with resources that are easy to consume, and relevant to their own businesses, we are taking some information that has been developed and trying to “pare it down” as much as possible so you can easily find the identified portions that are most beneficial.

One resource that has been created in the wake of the COVID-19 virus is a video series developed by Dirk Beveridge from UnleashWD. In this particular video, “Managing your Operations during the Coronavirus Pandemic”, Dirk interviews Jason Bader, Principle of The Distribution Team.

We have taken some time to pull some of the highlights and identify some important items that were covered, and then time stamp the video for easy access to everything that was covered in the video.


Referencing his conversations with various clients, Jason begins by stating that he’s encouraged with what he has been hearing as distributors take on challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. After leading a panel of young executives from various distributors, he discovered that these folks have been creative with solutions, successfully allowing commerce to continue.

He suggests that distributors are showing they are up to the challenge of changing the way they engage with customers, with inside salespeople even claiming to be more productive working out of their homes. This suggests that distributors need to address what types of distractions are negatively affecting their inside sales teams’ productivity. Dirk points out that outside sales teams have reported having more success in reaching with engineers, as engineers now have less internal meetings.

Another revelation is that COVID-19 has been responsible for an incredible amount of innovation in a short period of time. What’s shocking is that all this technology has been here, but it took such a cataclysmic event for distributors to really embrace it. As a result, Bader suggests that employees will not allow employers to go back to the way things were before the pandemic.

Talking about outside sales, Jason hopes that distributors move to a hybrid salesperson, where they are comfortable calling purchasing agents and customers alike. Jason doesn’t think that this hybrid role is for younger generations only – anybody can do it, especially considering how everyone has been forced to adapt under these extreme circumstances.

Next, Jason talks about the importance of disaster planning. In the last 12 years, leaders haven’t stepped up to ask the question: “What if our situation dramatically changes? What are we going to do different?” Jason believes that facilitated discussion between sales and operations to learn how to “tease out those answers and get people thinking again.” His tips for facilitating are as follows:

  1. Know what “done” looks like
  2. Make sure you give information ahead of time, to set the context

Video Timestamps:

6:50 – Salespeople are saying that they are more productive working out of their homes.

10:10 – Crisis driving empowerment and innovation

12:50 – Employees will not let employers revert to pre-pandemic processes

16:30 – The role of face-to-face interactions with the customer post-pandemic

22:25 – Stress-testing your business (disaster planning)

26:50 – Tips to facilitate productive staff conversations

About UnleasedWD's video series

At UnleashWD our purpose is to unleash the human spirit.  And during this unprecedented time we felt compelled to support the UnleashWD tribe and our association partners with the right mix of inspiration and timely, relevant information.  We reached out to our network of wickedly smart subject matter experts to provide the sessions below.  In the words of one attendee - “This was amazing.  You’ve changed our day tomorrow.  We’ll be on the attack!”

We are a design, innovation, and strategy firm who transforms legacy distributors into nimble and innovative market leaders.  What you are about to experience is designed to unleash your spirit so like the individual above decided, you too will be on the attack!

We are here to support you through these next few months and beyond.  If we can do anything for you please reach out directly to either of us.

Dirk Beveridge                      Bethany Hepler
Founder                                VP of Design