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At the Morgan Keegan Industrial/Transportation Conference this week, master distributor United Stationers said it is excited about opportunities for growth in industrial markets. (See the top 40 industrial distributors.) United Stationers entered the segment with its acquisition of ORS Nasco in late 2007.
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Steve Schultz, group president for LagasseSweet and ORS Nasco, said the master distributor can bring value to the industrial channel, which remains fragmented and holds opportunities for increased efficiencies.
"We rode the downturn like many industrial distributors did," Schultz said. "We used that time to put building blocks in place for future growth of the business. For example, (when we acquired ORS Nasco), we acquired eight locations in rural areas near hubs for LTL or UPS. We've rethought that and recognized that inventory needs to be local and in close proximity to customer bases. So we repositioned that business."
He said ORS Nasco closed some of those original eight locations, and now has 13 locations in major metropolitan areas. The distributor is on its way to up to 18 locations as part of that initiative. "We will then evaluate secondary markets," Schultz said.
United Stationers will continue to look for opportunities to expand into different product areas within the industrial segment. United Stationers also said it plans to continue cross-selling and upselling across all its major product categories. Jan-san/breakroom in particular provides this growth opportunity.
The master distributor has broadened its reach considerably over the past decade. Here is a product breakdown comparison between 2009 and 2000, as presented by United Stationers: