After learning about some of the risk distributors and their customers can face when counterfeits enter the supply chain, Maurice Electrical Supply, a $166-million distributor of electrical products in Washington, D.C., organized a seminar for its customers.
"Can I defend myself?" asks Warren Janes, Maurice vice president for sales and marketing. "You realize you can't. So you have to educate your customer base, and between the two of you figure out a way to move forward."
About 95 percent of Maurice's customer base is contractor, a segment that Janes wanted most to educate.
News that CompUSA will shut its remaining 100 stores and sell off its assets offers some insight for distributors and manufacturers feeling the pressures of consolidation. The downturn of the electronics retailer was not for lack of investment, but likely poor positioning.
Investing in the business in the late 1990s, Mexican telecom and retail store magnate Carlos Slim (now the richest man in the world) took CompUSA private, and the company grew its consumer electronics business through acquisition, including The Good Guys, a California chain.
The Wall Street Journal estimates annual sales last year at $4 billion, but likely to come in at $1.5 billion this year. Early in 2007, it said it would close 126 stores, more than half of its total then.
Global manufacturer with three Loctite Industrial
production facilities in North America
4,000 Loctite Industrial Group employees
Adhesives, sealants, and application equipment for OEM and MRO markets
When most distributors and
customers hear about a supplier going through an ERP system change, their blood runs cold because, potentially, it can be
devastating to business. There are far more stories about bad implementations than there are about good implementations. When
we learned we would be changing our ERP system, we were determined to make it as smooth a transition as possible. Since we
sell approximately 95 percent ...
Electrical distributor Graybar rolled out its new IT system in 2003-2004; the three-year implementation was anything but easy for the $5 billion company. But CFO Beatty D'Alessandro, who oversaw the implementation, says distributors can mitigate the risks inherent with such a transition. Here's how.
Most distributors who are implementing or even considering switching to a new business system may place too much worry on whether the technology will work and what it will cost but not enough on other risks inherent with the transition. The fact of the matter is if you're with a name-brand software company, the technology is going to work. This is not splitting the atom or curing cancer -we're talking about billing material, and shipping material, and ...
In the mid-1990s, Mayer Electric Supply, Birmingham, AL, prepared and mailed its invoices and statements in-house. The distributor had employees who printed the mailings on high-speed printers at night and used a machine to fold and stuff the mailings. It also maintained a Pitney-Bowes postal machine. It was quite a cost factor to do all of that, says Mayer Electric CIO Barry Carden. So Mayer started looking at outsourcing its paper billing. The electrical distributor, which serves mostly the Southeast U.S., found a provider in 2001. Despite a few issues - like some double mailings - the service worked well and saved Mayer time and money. But that company was sold to a larger corporation, which decided to cut smaller customers out of the mix, including ...
Inventory management provides both a challenge and an opportunity for all distributors. Our stock is our lifeline. If we do not maintain adequate supplies of merchandise, we lose sales. On the other hand, inventory costs money. The ongoing struggle is to have just the proper amount on hand, but not too much. In past years, we've fallen into the distributor habit of not thinking about surplus inventory until the end of the year. During an annual inventory taking, it was obvious that we had accumulated way too much stock on our shelves. Recently, we've ...
Distributor conducts maintenance trainings for customers
January 25, 2007
One distribution center and five branches, based in Livonia, MI.
Number of employees: 58
Key products: Bearings and power transmission
We strive to be problem-solvers in the marketplace by providing end-user training. It's a service the customer values and one that our competition can't easily duplicate. It adds real value to what we offer and helps us build stronger relationships with our end users.
More than eight years ago we began receiving requests from customers for maintenance-related training. We viewed these requests as opportunities for us to grow our business.
We sat down with those customers to determine the specific areas where they needed ...
Beacon Electric Supply in Southern California implemented a fleet management system to increase the number of deliveries drivers could make in a day. The system has also helped Beacon improve customer service levels and keep salespeople apprised of issues at the delivery site. At Beacon Electric Supply Inc., San Diego, CA, the burden of making deliveries on time used to lay on the drivers. They would get a pile of orders and it would be up to the drivers to best determine the routes, says CFO Dan Vivier. They supposedly knew their areas better than anyone else." While that was true, fingers were inevitably pointed at the driver whenever something went wrong with a delivery. So Beacon implemented a fleet management software package from RouteView a ...
This publicly traded medical/surgical distributor created a system to continuously improve the company's support of its employees, hoping that effort would translate into higher customer satisfaction. The results are paying off.
At medical/surgical supply distributor Owens & Minor, the CEO is called coach and the employees are referred to as teammates. The vice president for quality and communications is called the company's head cheerleader. And when you go to work for the $4 billion company, you work on someone's team - not for someone.
Sounds like semantics, but "it's the teeny things that make a huge difference," says the head cheerleader himself, Hugh Gouldthorpe.
Gouldthorpe says it's those little things that helped Owens & Minor, Richmond, VA, ...
Who: Dan Whalen, president, Atlantic Fasteners, Power Transmission Division (West Springfield, MA)
Number of branches: 2
Number of employees: 50
Key products: Shaft collars, shaft couplings, steel and stainless steel, inch and metric dimensions, blueprint specials, fasteners
We are unique in that we are a power transmission distribution sales division of a manufacturer. We realize the industrial distributor is a vital and necessary part of the supply channel; we have built strong relationships with our distribution network and we exclusively sell through them.
In order to best serve their markets, manufacturers need local inventory; well-trained representatives; and skilled, dedicated ...