Ken Sweder, CEO of the now-combined JanSan, foodservice and packaging supplies distributor, stops by to discuss the strategy behind the merger, the path ahead and the outlook for the company’s product markets.

Ken Sweder Pod photo

The JanSan, foodservice disposables and industrial packaging supplies distribution markets have seen considerable consolidation in recent years, and two of the leading culprits in those verticals have been BradyIFS and Envoy Solutions.

That has included the merger of Brady Industries and Individual Foodservice into BradyIFS, which has made numerous acquisitions post-COVID, while Envoy likewise has grown through dealmaking.

BradyIFS and Envoy took it to a whole other level this fall, as the two distributors merged at the end of October to form one company that has nearly 5 billion dollars in annual revenue, powered by about 6,000 employees across over 180 locations, and representing over 100,000 branded and exclusive brand products.

The guest on our latest MDM Podcast episode is Ken Sweder, who now serves as Chairman and CEO of the combined company after serving in those same roles for BradyIFS.

We discussed the strategy behind this landmark merger and how conversations between BradyIFS and Envoy started and the still-moving pieces involved, as well as what each side saw in each other to pursue their combination.

“We call it many ways to win,” Sweder told me. “We see more potential serving our customers, and nationally, we see more potential in terms of expanding our product assortment or marketing execution. We see a lot more potential as well to kind of re-resource and disproportionately invest in our commercial engine. And that’s very exciting. So there are a lot of ways to win, whether it’s in sales, operations, technology or supply chain, we think that there’s potential across each of those.”

Sweder emphasized that the company has no plans of slowing down on the expansion front, evidenced by the fact that it announced three more acquisitions since the merger announcement, including one on the same day we recorded this episode.

“We’re a great home for operators who want to continue on and be relevant and have the legacy and heritage for their teams,” Sweder explained. “We find that resonates because it’s real and because it affords potential new partners with new and better ways of doing things at scale. So yes, we will be very, very acquisitive here in the coming quarters and years. And we think that’s a key arrow in our quiver to continue on our growth trajectory to build value for our stakeholders, customers, shareholders and investors.”

We also touched on what the 2024 demand outlook is for the JanSan, foodservice and packaging markets that BradyIFS & Envoy serve, as well as if a rebranding is in the works.

Check out the podcast via the audio player above, and you can view our entire MDM Podcast library here.

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Mike Hockett

Mike Hockett

Mike Hockett is MDM’s executive editor, having joined the publication in March 2022. He oversees MDM’s editorial content and direction, coordinates with contributing authors, conducts interviews with executives in the wholesale distribution space and serves as the editorial face of MDM at industry events. He has extensively covered the distribution and manufacturing sectors since 2014. Hockett earned a degree in print journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and works from his home in Madison, Wisconsin. He can be contacted at

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