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DCKAP’s Round-Up: An Event for Distributors

On Thursday, May 19, 2022, we held our first event back in person, DCKAP’s Round-Up at the AFS Cinema in Austin, Texas. We were happy to be able to gather in person, but we also provided a simultaneous livestream to those who could not join us in Austin. 

The focus of this was to be an event for distributors, and it gave the opportunity for everyone to explore new perspectives on the journey of digital transformation; from covering the basics to diving into complex strategies that will help you succeed in eCommerce. 

The event featured an engaging agenda of presentations, discussions and sessions that touched on the latest insights to best navigate the digital future and the current state of distribution. We had an array of speakers present, such as our very own CEO and Founder, Karthik Chidambaram; Vice President of Operations at Marysville Marine, Ryan Van Hoozer; Manager of Mid-Market Sales at BigCommerce, Evan Perkins; President at EstesGroup, Brad Feakes; V.P. of Digital, Data, and Innovation at SRS Distribution, Patrick Garcia; CEO & Creative Director at EYStudios, Eric Yonge; Senior Director, Commerce Strategy & Product Marketing at Adobe, Tory Brunker; and Associate Professor of Instruction at Texas A&M University, Norm Clark.

Enjoy the Highlight Reel of Our Round-Up Event for Distributors!

Here is a quick recap of everything featured during this event: 

Crowd Warm-Up 

Hosted by Bill Boronkay

Bill kicked off the event by warming our crowd up. Being that he is a current comedian and corporate host, he did a great job in doing this!

“Get this, for those of you who don’t know Karthik, he started [DCKAP] with two people in a Chicago apartment, with two computers and two desks, because he splurged for a second desk.”

Welcome & Opening Note

Presented by Karthik Chidambaram, Founder & CEO at DCKAP

Karthik gave a warm welcome to everyone who attended Round-Up either in person or virtually. He mentioned how “integrated commerce is the future!” He also gave special recognition to our community member Tim Diep for the last ten years of his dedication to DCKAP.

More key takeaways:

  • Investing in research and experiments can lead to innovation.
  • Having a culture of inclusion and diversity is an important need for all distributors.
“If you do not innovate, another distributor down the street is just going to eat your lunch, and you’re going to go out of business.”
Karthik Chidambaram thanking and awarding community member Tim Diep for his 10 year anniversary with the company.

Customer Story – Q&A

Interview with Ryan Van Hoozer, Vice President of Operations at Marysville Marine

Ryan sat down with Karthik to talk more about his back story, and how he came to lead a successful company in the marine market. He elaborated on the diversification of the business, the collapse of the distribution chain over the past twenty years, his advice to distributors, and the importance of education in the next generation.

More key takeaways:

  • In starting your career, don’t be afraid to be curious, involve yourself in conversations or ask a lot of questions.
  • Diversification is good because it can help as a buffer during the ebbs and flows of the industry.
  • Technical trade schools can offer earning power just as strong as a university career, and oftentimes is even more immediately relevant to the student.
“If you’re a smaller family distributor, I think it’s important to look at underserved markets or places where you can easily move into.”

From the Field: Practical Tips for Better Vendor Evaluations

Presented by Evan Perkins, Manager of Mid-Market Sales at BigCommerce

Evan gave a fantastic presentation where he provided four practical insider tips for better vendor evaluations:

  1. Make an entrance
  2. Personalize the RFP
  3. Get ahead of legal
  4. Timing is everything
“If you can skip the formal process, I think there’s a better way to go about it.”

Integration Considerations when Constructing a Hybrid ERP Cloud

Presented by Brad Feakes, President at EstesGroup

Brad joined us to talk about the latest trends in ERP culture and integration considerations you should take when constructing a hybrid ERP cloud model. He mentioned how “the ease of migration depends on your hub.”

More key takeways: 

  • Think of integration as a bridge instead of a network of highways. 
  • Make the most of the discovery stage. 
  • Use vendors expertise so that you can migrate properly.
On the Hub & Spoke Metaphor: “One of the biggest challenges, risks, considerations, is to make sure that you understand, moving that hub, what is that going to do for all of the spokes.”

Differentiate Your Emerging eCommerce Brand

Presented by Eric Yonge, CEO & Creative Director at EYStudios

Eric’s presentation was very engaging and he provided great insight on what your brand can mean to every unique entity. He also explained the many different ways to be able to differentiate your emerging brand. 

More key takeways: 

  • Your brand is NOT your products or logo or what you say it is, but it is what others say it is. 
  • Be sure to tell your story in multiple ways and make it compelling to others.
“Your brand is everything, not one thing or another, about you that distinguishes itself in the minds and hearts of your customers. It’s the total experience.”

Group Photo on Stage & Lunch Break

Creating Memorable Commerce Experiences for Your B2B Customers

Presented by Tory Brunker, Sr. Director, Commerce Strategy & Product Marketing at Adobe

Tory joined us with her session to discuss how creating memorable experiences for customers is key. She mentioned how “focusing on experience is good for business.” 

More key takeaways: 

  • Personalization drives better performance and better customer outcomes. 
  • Connecting systems, channels and marketplaces can help you scale globally.
“When you start with basic personalization, you’re really looking to make sure that when someone goes online and has an experience with you that you’re following up with them and the other ways that they already communicate with you.”

Advancing the Industry’s Technology

Presented by Patrick Garcia, V.P. of Digital, Data, and Innovation at SRS Distribution

Patrick joined us for a very engaging session where he explained how relentless and passionate pursuits to create a differentiated experience within a company is very important. He mentioned how “advancing the industry’s technology is about eliminating customer friction which increases internal efficiencies thus creating improved profits.”

More key takeaways: 

  • Businesses need to have a consistent and clear vision to use technology and arm businesses with the right tools to be able to meet all customers expectations. 
  • As complexity grows, so does the seeking for automation.
“If you truly want to innovate and advance the industry, it has to be a conscious strategic commitment for your organization.”

Trends in Talent Development & The Future of Distribution

Panel Discussion with Norm Clark, Associate Professor of Instruction at Texas A&M University; Justin Zaza, eCommerce Integration Consultant at DCKAP; Nijel Williams, Business Analyst at DCKAP; Jacqueline Portillo, Event Coordinator at DCKAP

This panel discussion included three of our very own members of DCKAP. Professor Clark started off the panel by discussing the different trends he has seen in talent development. Then, he brought up our three members on the stage to further discuss why they chose DCKAP, why they would choose to stay and what would make them leave the company. 

More key takeaways: 

  • Disruption is the new normal in distribution. Things are constantly changing. 
  • Taking responsibility to make new talent better is important if you want to retain talent.
“The expectations of the folks coming out of school today are a lot different from the Baby Boomers, they’re a lot different from Generation X; the Millennials and the Gen Z’s even have some differences.”

Closing Note

Presented by Catherine Sulskis, Partner Manager at DCKAP

Catherine closed out our great event by highlighting the importance of partnerships, then invited everyone to the post-event refreshments and networking time out in the lobby. She also thanked each and every one of our attendees for joining us for DCKAP’s Round-Up event.

“Partnership really is a pivotal way of practicing success, not just achieving it.”

Post-Event Refreshments/Cocktails & Networking

After a long day of sessions and noteworthy topics, it was wonderful to spend some quality time with our guests and have fun meeting and conversing over the delicious refreshments.

Thank you to all our amazing speakers and guests and to everyone who attended either in-person or online. We are very excited for more in person events ahead!

To read more about other events we’ve hosted, check out the blog on our past DCKAP eSummit which you can find here.

Jacqueline Portillo

Author Jacqueline Portillo

Jacqueline is a proud Texas A&M University graduate with a degree in Communications, Events, and Tourism Management. Given her customer service savvy and bilingual skills, Jacqueline is an expert at maintaining relationships in any environment. Her background in planning events lends her a firsthand understanding of the importance of using both attention-to-detail and organizational skills in accomplishing any task ahead of her. In her free time, she loves going on scenic drives with friends and discovering new artists. Jacqueline is very excited to continue her career journey at DCKAP as their Event Coordinator.

More posts by Jacqueline Portillo

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