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MRO Direct, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA, has closed a $2-million capital round of financing, which will be used to add new customers and company growth, CEO Don Belt told MDM. The company provides sourcing and procurement processes to customers with a model to generate hard cost savings combined with process improvement to yield lowest total procurement cost. Major customers currently include TRW Automotive (Detroit) and Valspar Corporation (Minneapolis). See article here.
Avnet Supply Chain Services and DHL Solutions announce a joint offering that enables component suppliers and electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers to integrate global supply chain planning, forecasting and logistics activities into one seamless global operation. By collaborating on an integrated solution, the two companies solve many of the challenges global electronics companies are facing as manufacturing moves from one region to another,' said Greg Frazier, senior vice president of Avnet Supply Chain Services. See article here.
A survey of its largest members by the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors indicates that 67% of respondents intend to increase their workforce this year. On average, these companies will grow their number of employees by 4.7%. Fifty-eight of the nation's largest wholesaler-distributors with collective annual sales of $177 billion participated in the survey conducted in early March.
Daily sales at W.W. Grainger's branch-based businesses were up 6% in February versus February 2003. Daily sales at Lab Safety were up 17%. Daily sales for Integrated Supply were down 1%. In December, Grainger added four more markets in Southern California to its market expansion program, intended to build its presence in 25 major U.S. markets: Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside and Orange County. In 2004, Grainger plans to add 150,000 square feet in showroom and warehouse capacity to its southern California branch network, 30 additional account managers to its sales force, and $11 million in incremental inventory. See article here for more on Grainger's plans to restructure its sales force.
Wolseley is reporting organic growth of nearly 10% in its U.S. Plumbing and Heating business for the first half of its fiscal year, and good progress was also made in the UK, French and Canadian businesses, relative to their markets. Reported sales of the North American Plumbing and Heating division were up 6.2% after currency translation. Ferguson's sales in the U.S. plumbing operations rose by 11.4%, almost 10% of which was organic growth, against a market that increased by around 2- 3%. On a constant currency basis, total international group sales increased by 24.7% and trading profit by 23.7%, including acquisitions in European distribution.
The new order index for the Industrial Supply Manufacturers Association jumped nearly ten points in February to 173.3 from the January figure of 163.5. That's up from the 2003 low of 144.1 recorded in August. The Federal Reserve Board's Durable Manufacturers Index increased in February to 131.5, up from January's 130.2, continuing a steady increase since May 2003. The Conference Board's Index of Leading Indicators remained steady in