Sometime in 2011, long-range plans were being made deep inside Ace Hardware’s Oak Brook, Ill., headquarters. Brian Cronenwett, vice president of international logistics, and his team were busy working out plans to revamp the company’s international distribution network. The project involved creating three far-flung distribution centers to service more stores in 62 countries.

“We had a major distribution center in Shanghai that we repurposed into a regional, then added centers in Panama and Dubai within six months,” Cronenwett says. “Needless to say, I didn’t see much of my family during that year.”

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