For Safety Products Inc. (SPI), Lakeland, FL, the key to success is evolving with your customers' needs while focusing on your specialty. The safety products distributor was recently featured at TheLedger.com.
As detailed in the article, CEO and founder Ed Williams has managed to expand the company's offerings without straying from its central specialty - no small feat when you look at how the safety products marketplace has changed over the last two decades. More broadline distributorsand distributors specialized in other product areas have added safety products to their offerings, bringing new competitors into the space. According to the article, "At one time SPI competed against a number of companies that had the word 'safety' in their names. Now, many of SPI's competitors - such as HD Supply - sell a wide variety of products, with safety supplies merely accounting for a fraction of their merchandise."
How has SPI managed to stay specialized in this environment? Expansion of offerings within the safety products industry. "Where as at one time the selection of safety glasses was limited to those reminiscent of Grouch Marx's trademark frames, 'Now you can be wearing safety glasses that are Oakleys,'" Ed Williams told The Ledger. In addition, the company now offers repairs and testing of safety monitoring equipment.
The key to successful specialization, at least in the case of SPI, has been to find ways to expand and continue meeting the changing needs of its customers while maintaining their market focus. As Scott Williams, Ed's son and president of SPI, tells the publication: "We could sell nuts and bolts, but that would distract us."