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FALL 2020

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Distributor's Link Magazine Fall 2020 / Vol 43 No 4

110 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S

110 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK JASPER INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO SUCCESS from page 26 Company Culture Whenever you acquire companies, there are challenges associated with getting to know the new people and whether your leadership style will be welcomed. There is always employee anxiety about what the new owners are going to want to change. They did not let a single employee go in the two acquisitions they made. One thing they did see at times were people working for themselves rather than as a team. Brent believes a strong team is more valuable than strong individuals. From the start, they made it a high priority to change parts of the company’s culture to focus on teamwork. He feels that they currently have a strong team. Unique I asked Brent what made Jasper Industrial unique. He told me, “We have a significant white-glove approach to service, which we know our competition does not. We charge slightly higher prices, but we also hire subject matter experts who can help our customers solve their problems. The consulting helps save them money over time because they are not paying for mistakes. We help them become more efficient, and they appreciate that. Sure, there are customers who only care about saving a couple pennies. Those aren’t the customers we want. We have experts in cabinet hardware, finish equipment, fasteners, janitorial/sanitation supplies, and even glue! As mentioned already, we even created a whole company of software developers to solve our customers’ technical problems. The software is now being sold nationwide.” Since they bought it, the acquisition of Stac Industrial Supply has helped them launch their fastener business. Stac had employees who knew fasteners, and they hired an additional employee whose core expertise was in screws. After the acquisition, to be more competitive, they decided to import many low-cost commodity fasteners from Asia. So far, it is working, and they are acquiring new customers and saving them money. COVID-19 Pandemic I wondered how the pandemic had affected them. Brent told me that COVID has turned out to be a spark plug for them. The woodworking industry was deemed essential. While their core business dropped 20% or so, they began buying domestically and importing COVID supplies like masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, disinfectant sprays, sanitation wipes, gowns, etc. They landed a deal with a national clothing outlet with 3,800 stores that they supplied 400,000 gallons of hand sanitizer so they could reopen. Online sales were peaking at 500+ orders per day. Their pivot has allowed them to have record sales. More importantly, it helped create new customers throughout the country on an ongoing basis. Brent said that the decision to pivot to COVID supplies was easy. There was a massive market for it. They were already selling those types of products. The volume of sales is much higher now. Brent told me that even though it was an easy decision, it was a substantial financial risk. They were wiring large amounts of money overseas and domestically, hoping not to get scammed. So far, it has worked out great. Looking Ahead Their eCommerce platform is a pilot that will eventually allow them to put their entire product line online. Brent knows that many more challenges will surface when they do that, like the need for packaging supplies, resources to work fulfillment, shipping, customer service, and integration with our existing systems. The list goes on. They have partnered with UPS, which is helping us with a lot of these challenges by providing us the expertise to solve these problems upfront. It benefits them for us to succeed. Technology Aside from creating their technology firm, a huge customer retention magnet, they changed their internal system. When they acquired Stac, they migrated from an archaic ERP system to The Business Edge TM by Computer Insights Inc. CONTINUED ON PAGE 154

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