For janitorial supplies distributor Strauss Paper Co., competitive advantage starts with not only finding the right people, but also investing in them.
“We spend a lot of time, effort and money to find someone who fits into our culture and into our company,” President and CEO Stewart Strauss said in MDM’s recent 7 Minutes With … interview. “And then we continue to invest in them so they can grow and continue to learn as the company grows.”
Strauss said staff is more critical today than it ever has been. “Today 20 people have the same product line,” he said. “So how do you separate yourself? It’s no longer the product.”
Today’s market demands a strategic sales approach, he said, rather than a tactical one. “Having the right people helps us accomplish that,” he said.
The distributor has employees that have been involved with the company for decades. Those employees may have started in the warehouse or as a switchboard operator; over the years, Strauss has trained them, sent them to school and promoted them. They are now leading parts of the company.
“The knowledge those people have from growing up the ladder in the company has been an asset for us but also for our clients because they know how to make things happen,” he said.
Listen to the full interview with Strauss below or visit MDM’s 7 Minutes With … archives to hear from more distribution company leaders, including CH Briggs, Avnet, Mingledorff’s, Lawson Products, ORS Nasco and more.