MDM Podcast: How Wajax Bulked Up its Product Offering with Service - Modern Distribution Management

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MDM Podcast: How Wajax Bulked Up its Product Offering with Service

Wajax Corp. has bolstered its Industrial Parts unit during Iggy Domagalski's first two years as CEO, and he stopped by to discuss its key drivers. We also discussed tech initiatives, PPE enhancements, industry tailwinds and headwinds.
Wajax Podcast

At the end of 2020, Iggy Domagalski was leading a Calgary, Ontario-based Canada-based distributor of industrial process equipment known as Tundra Process Solutions. 

His company was acquired by Canada nationwide distributor Wajax Corp. (Toronto) a month later, and less than a year after that, he was suddenly its President and CEO — leading a large distributor of heavy machinery, industrial supplies and value-added solutions.

It was a fast career advancement for Domagalski to succeed Mark Foote as the company’s top executive and lead an organization that has been in operation since 1858, which is 9 years longer than Canada has been a country. It also took him from leading a privately-owned mid-market distributor that had one business segment account for about 80% of its revenue to a publicly-traded one that is much more diversified.

Iggy Domagalski

Domagalski joined the MDM Podcast in late March to discuss that transition, which enabled Tundra to further scale its capabilities following a longstanding compound annual growth rate of 30% and helped Wajax fill a geographic gap in western Canada for offerings in process control instrumentation, valves, motors and controls.

“I love my job, I love this company, I love the people who I get a chance to work with, but it’s for sure been an adjustment,” Domagalski told me. “There’s been a whole bunch of learning, but it’s been a wonderful learning curve.”

His learning curve has involved learning French, as about one-third of Wajax’s some 3,200 employees live in Canada’s Quebec province, where French is the primary language.

Wajax has been very busy during Domagalski’s short tenure there, including bolstering its Industrial Parts and Engineered Repair Services (ERS) divisions with acquisitions of Powell Valve, Polyphase Engineered Controls and Beta Fluid Power and Beta Industrial. Those deals helped drive a 9.8% increase in Wajax’s 2023 annual sales to $1.59 billion and a 19.0% in adjusted EBITDA ($145 million).

The company’s complementary business segments of Industrial Parts and ERS — which MDM will account for on our 2024 Top Industrial Distributors List — saw revenue increase 12.9% and 28.6% during 2023.

“We really see those two businesses as driving each other, and I think that’s a competitive advantage we have in the market,” Domagaski explained. “Some of our competitors will be — for the most part — a sole distributor, so limited service capabilities. But in our business, when we wrap up our industrial products and services, it’s about a billion-dollar business. More than a third of that is the services and value-added assemblies.”

Domagaski noted that Wajax will continue to pursue acquisitive growth for its Industrial Parts and ERS units to grow that advantage, and he detailed the criteria the company typically looks for when prospecting on that front.

On the technology side, Wajax’s top priority is the continued rollout of its new ERP system, which Domagalski said has been a multi-year, ‘slow-and-steady’ process. He walked me through that process, which is expected to be completed in 2025. Beyond ERP, he also touched on the rollout of Wajax’s mobile field service and how the company is dabbling with artificial intelligence.

Wajax has also ramped up its offerings in PPE in both product assortment and service capabilities, including inventory management to match the heavy consuming industries that Wajax serves, which include construction, forestry, mining, industrial and commercial, oil sands, transportation, metal processing, government, utilities and oil & gas.

Check out the full podcast episode via the audio player above, and you can find all of our past episodes here.

Here’s our three most recent episode blogs:

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