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163: The Evolving Role of Industrial Distribution in a Manufacturing Ecosystem with E&H Electric Supply's Nate Bucklew
Episode 16312th December 2023 • Manufacturing Happy Hour • Chris Luecke
00:00:00 00:40:00

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Industrial distribution is so much more than just shipping boxes. It’s an essential part of the manufacturing process and, without it, customers would never see the products they need. 

But how has industrial distribution evolved? What does it mean to be a distributor today? And what does the distributor of the future look like? 

We can’t believe we’ve never dived into industrial distribution on Manufacturing Happy Hour, but better late than never! Here to shed some light is Nate Bucklew, a district manager with E&H Electrical Supply, an electrical distributor based in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Nate shares how his role has evolved into a fully-fledged service provider and explains why the customer is central to success in distribution. Plus, he tells us why Louisville is such a special place and leaves us with some unmissable tips on career progression.    

What we discuss with Nate: 

  • How his family history of industrial work led him to pursue a career in manufacturing himself, working in a warehouse and returning to manufacturing full-time after graduation 
  • Nate explains why patience and building trust and strong relationships is integral as you lay the foundations for a progressive career in manufacturing 
  • Manufacturing is a distinct part of Louisville’s identity and plays a huge role in why it is a fast-growing city 
  • To instigate and execute a successful digital transformation, manufacturing leaders must help their teams understand the reasoning behind the change 
  • Nate explains why the product is irrelevant if it doesn’t reach the customer at the desired speed. Distribution is an often overlooked but incredibly important part of the manufacturing process 
  • Nate shares how industrial distribution has undergone a transformation and tells us why leaders in his field have seen their job roles expand and become service providers 
  • Why the future of the manufacturing industry lies with people and their abilities to learn and progress. Technology will also play a critical part as distributors work to build even stronger trust with customers 
  • Why the most important thing for industrial distribution is understanding and delivering what the customer wants 

Enjoying the show? Please leave us a review here. Even one sentence helps. It’s feedback from Manufacturing All-Stars like you that keeps us going! 

Tweetable Quotes: 

  • “We’re a people business. What we do is much more than just providing boxes.” 
  • “Everything we do is based around transparency and integrity as a baseline.” 
  • “We better be darn sure that, as we strive to solve our customers’ problem, we’re not poking another customer or distributor in the eye. It’s a nimble journey.” 

Links & mentions: 

  • E&H Electric Supply, a division of CED, E&H is the #1 source for automation & electrical supplies in the Kentuckiana area 
  • Repeal, Whiskey Row's only oak-fired steakhouse, located in downtown Louisville housed in the former site of J.T.S. Brown and Sons’ wholesale warehouse and bottling operations 
  • Connect with Nate on LinkedIn 

Make sure to visit for detailed show notes and a full list of resources mentioned in this episode. Stay Innovative, Stay Thirsty. 




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