COHN & GREGORY SUPPLY ACQUIRES STANDARD INDUSTRIAL Fort Worth, Texas-based Cohn & Gregory Supply has reached an agreement to acquire Standard Industrial Supply from owner Don Smith. Standard is a PVF supplier with a concentration on MRO and safety supplies. Standard has been operating for 30 years out of one location in Mesquite, Texas. Gary Coleman will take over as branch manager for this location, effective immediately. The Standard Industrial Supply tradename will continue to be used for an undetermined amount of time as it is transitioned over to the Cohn & Gregory Supply name. “The acquisition of Standard Industrial will add tremendous opportunities to Cohn & Gregory’s expansion plans,” Cohn & Gregory CEO Scott Mahaffey said. “Standard brings more than 40 years of industry experience and knowledge to our organization. We are very excited for the new opportunities that will come through this transaction. We wish Don Smith the best in his retirement.” DEACON INDUSTRIAL NAMES DUNNE PRESIDENT Deacon Industrial Supply announced Bill Dunne has been elected the company’s president. Dunne is the fourth president of the 55-yearold company. He holds a bachelor’s of science degree in mechanical engineering from Temple University. He started his career at Tyco Flow Control/ Yarway Corp., where he moved up through the company to the role of project manager. In 2001, he accepted a position at Greene Tweed & Co., as a sales manager for its defense group. He returned to Tyco as a regional sales manager in 2006 and joined Deacon in 2013 as a director of sales and quickly moved to the position of vice president of sales and then executive VP. “Bill has been instrumental in the overall growth of the company with two new branch openings,” Deacon said. OMNI BUYING GROUP ENJOYS STRONG 2017 The Omni buying group hosted an extravagant Super Bowl Sunday party ahead of its annual Spring Meeting in Palm Desert, California. A day later, the Omni scoreboard was equally flush with good news for the 219-member group. Omni President John Aykroyd reported group sales were up 7% in 2017 thanks to widespread strong business indicators. “Business is good coast to coast,” Aykroyd told Supply House Times in Palm Desert. “We have a good mix of distributors partaking in oil and gas and all the growth that is occurring in major metropolitan areas as well as in the Midwest with the fl yover states. Business is good everywhere.” Aykroyd continues to enhance the back-shop capabilities of the three-decade-plus-old buying group and provided updates on a number of key initiatives. An online business-intelligence platform is drawing rave reviews as its implementation becomes widespread in the group. “We’re taking technology and going from a Volkswagen Beatle to a Lamborghini,” he said. “That’s a big advantage for our members — leveraging information to bring purchasing power back into the group.” Omni also continues to push forward on its irrigation vertical, which Aykroyd said will gain even more traction in 2018. “Irrigation still is a big initiative for us,” he said. “There already are synergies with a number of members purchasing those products. There also is a need in that marketplace for another player in the buying group for the small, medium and large irrigation distributors.” Aykroyd stressed continuing to implement programs to help its members beyond straight buying power is critical. “Part of it is the technology front and leveraging that information, allowing members to purchase as a collective, but there also is the need to market as a collective,” he said. “The issue is you think of the group as a buying group, but we also need to be a marketing group. What services can we provide them whether it’s HR or IT? The e-commerce initiative is another solution for members and it’s a technology in another one or two years that will be imperative for any wholesaler.” Aykroyd also lauded the direction Luxury Products Group, the buying group’s luxury bath-and-kitchen arm, is taking under the leadership of new Director Jeff MacDowell. “With LPG it’s more of a rebranding,” he said. “We have built on the last seven years of success. Jeff has come in and rebranded and is taking it to the next level, putting luxury back in luxury products. You’ve seen that with some of the lines that have come onboard in the last 60 days.” The subject of vendor consolidation within the group also was broached during the meeting. “When you have 13 vendors in a product category, am I getting the best deal?” Aykroyd asked. “No. Some of that is driven by the way Omni is governed. We’re going to start looking into the total dollar volume you are putting into the group. It’s not all price and rebates. It’s about service and are you selling to the majority of our members? We’re looking at many different KPIs. The best solution for our members will win out. Rebates are important, don’t get me wrong, but if a vendor is shipping 10 times for every order, who cares how good the rebate is, it’s costing our members a lot to do business with that vendor.” Looking ahead, Aykroyd has seen a lot of progress in his 18 months on the job and sees even greener pastures ahead for the group. “Business is good, everybody is happy,” he said. “Last year was a good year for Omni and for its members, specifically in residential and multifamily. It’s nice to be around a good group of members as well as a good vendor community.” Attendees also heard a human-resources presentation from former Sloan executive Margie Rodino. For more on Rodino’s presentation, visit www.SupplyHT.com. —Mike Miazga reporting CHICAGO TUBE AND IRON PROMOTES LANGFORD Chicago Tube and Iron announced the promotion of Scott Langford to the position of corporate director of logistics. The company noted the promotion acknowledges Langford’s new, expanded responsibilities in helping forge CTI into a more adept, efficient competitor through operational excellence. “Scott will bring his decades of experience in logistics fully to bear in this expanded role, moving us forward from our current model where transportation simply is a growing cost of doing business to a completely new approach where our expertise in logistics is deployed as a competitive weapon to help us win in the marketplace,” the company stated. “Scott will be working with branch sales and operating teams in a much more direct, hands-on approach.” Langford joined CTI in 2014 after a career with several logistics firms. NAVIEN CELEBRATES 1 MILLION CONDENSING UNITS SOLD Navien noted it accomplished a “first in the industry” by selling one million condensing units. An eco-conscious company focused on energy-saving and highly efficient condensing products, Navien said it is proud to participate in the reduction of CO2 and NOx in North American and worldwide. “The energy savings of one million condensing units operating in North America since 2008 vs. non-condensing units sold by other manufacturers would be roughly equivalent to planting 645 million trees,” Navien Vice President of Sales Eric Moffroid said. Navien core products include tankless water heaters, combi-boilers and boilers sold exclusively through wholesale distribution. In late January, with dignitaries and VIP guests present, Navien held a celebration of this accomplishment for all employees. AD ECOMMERCE SUMMIT GENERATES SUCCESS STORIES E-commerce continues to be more prevalent in the world of PHCP distributors and members of AD are taking the action into their own hands. AD hosted its second annual eCommerce Summit Feb. 7-9 at the Denver International Airport Westin hotel. The event broke its attendance mark from the previous year with more the 250 AD independent distributors in six industries representing three countries. Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group, gave the keynote address and reminded attendees a website can be a “financial asset that delivers a return.” He noted reversing apathy is vital to a company and its website. Brenner showed AD members a study showing 73% of people wouldn’t care if the brands they regularly used disappeared. Brenner also highlighted the acronym WIIC as something to think about. “What’s in it the customer? What’s in it for my colleagues?” he asked. Following Brenner’s keynote, the summit featured AD member panel discussions on e-commerce best practices and advice, breakout sessions led by AD team members and 14 roundtable discussions on specific elements to e-commerce such as online live chats and email marketing. Jeffrey Beall, president of AD’s PHCP divisions in the U.S. and Canada, stated AD members are tackling the challenges of e-commerce more and more each year. “Distributors are embracing the e-commerce world,” he told Supply House Times. “No matter where you are in the process, our members continue to have a resource in AD to help them understand the various aspects of this channel. We are in it to win it. Together with our e-commerce partners, our e-commerce team and our distributor members, we are expanding our competencies.” During a Thursday night dinner ceremony, AD honored members in each division with AD eCommerce Members of the Year awards. The winners were Consolidated Supply (plumbing), Cooney Brothers (PVF), Peirce-Phelps (HVAC) and N.H. Bragg (industrial). Karla Neupert Hockley, president of Consolidated Supply, noted the company’s partnership with AD has paid off, especially in the e-commerce arena. “We joined AD 17 months ago and one of the primary drivers of our decision was its e-commerce vision,” she stated. “AD’s leadership demonstrated its clear commitment to its members’ successful migration to e-commerce by the talented staff it had assembled. AD had a plan for its members and were executing on it. A successful B2B e-commerce strategy is table stakes for today’s independent distributor.” During his acceptance speech Cooney Brothers President Gerry Cooney thanked AD for being important partners in e-commerce. “Nothing could be more important to an independent distributor today than investing in e-commerce,” he said. “We are grateful to AD for its leadership and for leveraging its scale to get us the tools we need to succeed. I am not sure where we would be if it wasn’t for AD rocketing us ahead in our e-commerce journey.” What can other independent distributors learn from the successes of the Consolidated Supplies, Cooney Brothers, Peirce-Phelps and N.H. Braggs? “Don’t give up,” Beall told Supply House Times. “Utilize the AD resources available to you and get involved. This is a member-driven initiative so it is fantastic to see it coming together. The success stories are impressive.” — John McNally reporting ASA MEMBERS INCREASE SALES 10.4% IN JANUARY ASA member wholesaler-distributors reported a median sales increase of 10.4% for the month of January, compared to the same month in 2017. Calendar year-to-date, all respondents reported median sales growth of 10.4%, and the median increase for the trailing 12 months is 6.0%. Inventory rose 6.0% compared to prior year, and the median threemonths average days sales outstanding edged up from 43.0 days in December to 43.5 days in January. 56.3% of the respondents reported an increase in gross margin percentages for January 2018 vs. 2017, and company YTD profit before taxes increased for 62.8% of the total sample. The percentage of respondents having more full-time equivalent employees compared to a year ago decreased from 58.8% in December to 53.5% in January. Industrial pipe-valve-fitting distributors reported a median sales increase of 6.0% for the month compared to last year. Calendar yearto- date, all PVF respondents reported a median sales increase of 6.0%, and the median increase for the trailing 12 months is 7.5%. Inventory rose 5.9% compared to prior year, and the median three-months average DSOs increased from 43.1 days in December to 44.4 days in January. PVF respondents reporting an increase in company YTD profit before taxes leapt from 44.4% in December to 66.7% in January. HARDI DISTRIBUTORS REPORT 2.8% REVENUE DECLINE In its recent TRENDS report, Heating, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International announced a 2.8% decline in average sales for HARDI distributor members in December 2017. The average annualized growth for the 12 months through December 2017 was 5.3%. “December is not a seasonally significant month. The decline is associated with very strong prior year sales and one less billing day this year. That is difficult to overcome,” HARDI Market Research & Benchmarking Analyst Brian Loftus said. “5.3% growth is the slowest calendar year since 2011 and recovering from the recession.” HARDI Senior Economist Connor Lokar added: “This is somewhat at odds with the other strong signs we see like the positive slope to the leading indicators. HARDI members did post strong growth in November and December 2016 and January 2017 so they set themselves up with some tall bars to clear. The decelerating growth is a noteworthy trend to watch.” The days sales outstanding (DSO), a measure of how quickly customers pay their bills, is near 45 days. “The DSO is at the midpoint of recent performance for this time of year,” Loftus said. “Softer sales helped the dip from last month. We would welcome an extra day or two in the months ahead because it would be normal seasonal pattern and indicate resumption of sales growth.”
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