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On Distribution Talk, we dive into the stories, struggles and solutions from interesting characters who have chosen to make a career in the distribution industry. My goal is to entertain, educate and inspire you through these brief conversations.  Thank you for visiting.  If you like what you hear, come visit us often. -Jason

May 27, 2019

“I think salespeople do a fantastic job accomplishing the task that they’ve been given. That said, none of what they produce out there can really come to fruition without the support of a wide network of folks within the organization.” --Marshall Jones 

Jason catches up with Marshall Jones, former owner of Marco Supply Company. They cover a lot of ground from life in and out of the family business to the merits of various talent assessment methods. And, if you’ve got kids of your own in the family business, you’ll want to hear Marshall’s views on sending them to gain experience elsewhere.

“I feel like I got a lot more out of the experience than they did,” Marshall says of his post-graduation gig with Omaha-based Carlson Systems (now SouthernCarlson Inc.). At a time when internships were few, even for graduates of the esteemed industrial distribution program at Texas A&M, Marshall credits Carlson for giving him a tremendous amount of flexibility to make mistakes and prove himself. “I had my work cut out for me and it was a great year of knocking on a lot of doors and learning a lot of lessons.”

Admittedly, not all of the ideas he brought back home worked. Still, Marshall says his time away prepared him to face the challenges. “It was incredibly valuable… to see some of the struggles that you’re going to encounter going back into the family business.”

One such struggle was learning how to overcome internal biases. No one wants to spend time or money setting up a good employee for failure in another department. “Not every cut out to be successful in every role,” says Marshall. Finding the right assessment method was key. “We learned lessons and they were painful lessons but we got better and better as we went along,” he says.

So which method produced better results: instinct or standardized testing? And how does Marshall make sure each department gets recognized for the value they add to the organization? Tune in to find out.


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Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.  

Edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.

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