The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Commentary: Grow by Thinking Locally

The interview that leads this issue explains well the concept that the key values of distribution rest at the local customer. It offers a unique perspective on how this newly hatched $300-million distributor plans to get much bigger by thinking locally.


Richard Worthy is assembling what ten years ago would have been called a roll-up. He explains in detail why that specific model has some serious structural problems and how his venture is different.


Just how different is why it’s good reading, even to the selection of the company’s name, US Electrical Services. The name reinforces how the range of services required in the distribution industry has evolved beyond just “supplying” materials to include marketing, product selection, credit facilities, electronic interface and product training in addition to traditional core distribution services.


Worthy plans to stay away from a one-size-fits-all approach: “When they centralize key decision-making like vendor lines, pricing and credit, what is invariably lost is the crucial and intimate understanding of why customers buy from you versus your competitor. You become focused on reports, numbers, trends because you aren’t able to focus on the customer… we certainly have reports and analytics, but we are able to balance that with the local strategic thinking our presidents bring.”


If you had a clean sheet of paper and thought about how to create a new and different distribution company that offered some differentiating value for customers, would it look anything like what Mr. Worthy describes in this interview?

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