EMPLOYEE-OWNED AND ON THE RISE
With a team of lighting, design, product, automation and quotation specialists and nearly 30,000 electrical products in stock, Dakota Supply Group (DSG) helps electrical contractors, electricians and other electrical professionals tackle any challenge the industry throws their way.
The company takes pride in being more than a distributor of electrical products and considers itself a partner with its customers—a partner who looks for ways to minimize installation time and materials costs, resolves product challenges to maintain productivity and provides all the right connections to ensure projects are profitable. DSG’s unique services for electrical contractors and other electrical industry professionals include:
- Design Layout Capabilities: Complimentary design layout capabilities help save time and money during new construction projects by planning for optimum energy efficiency, minimal maintenance, superior light quality and aesthetic appeal.
- Energy Audits: Free audits help customers who are bidding lighting retrofit projects to improve energy efficiency, reduce maintenance costs, enhance light quality and distribution and receive rebates from utility providers.
- Colored Wire Distribution Center: DSG’s distribution center in St. Paul, Minnesota has more than 2,500 reels, labor-saving accessories and one of the fastest turnaround times in the business.
- On-Site Trailers/Product Stage Ordering: DSG provides the parts and products customers need where they need them to minimize project delays, provide easy access to inventory, improve productivity and keep inventory safer. DSG Connect helps to facilitate the ordering and delivery of products in a way that reduces product handling by shipping orders in stages according to a job’s progress.
- Online Account Management: Estimators and purchasers can retrieve bids, import quotes and orders and create custom catalogs. Project managers can reduce nonbillable time by using DSG Connect to easily track and organize orders, access order history and manage DSG account details. Bookkeepers can streamline their work flow by viewing statements, invoices and payment history.
- Pricing Updates: DSG Connect provides customers with access to current pricing for their product list and downloadable pricing lists.
- Barcode Advantage Program: DSG customizes a system of barcodes that, when used in combination with a user-friendly web app, allows customers to reorder products by taking a photo of the barcode with a smartphone and entering the quantity they want delivered.
- Training: The University of DSG offers a P4 Learning Lab, which is an interactive two-day seminar about small business improvement, and Power Tools Success Workshops, which provide useful tips and advice aimed at making teams more productive. The company also offers branch-specific training, which includes product training during events at customers’ local DSG branch.
- Technical Support: Specialists help customers make the most of DSG’s online resources. Inside sales experts help customers select the best products and tools for every job, even if that means tracking down emerging technology or hard-to-find products. With roots dating back to 1868, DSG also serves the plumbing, HVAC, refrigeration, communications, utility and waterworks industries.
“Our company has been built primarily through acquisition of successful independent distributors and that has brought in a different mix of customers,” said Todd Eber, director of marketing and analytics and a DSG Board member. “Overall, contractors still make up our largest customer segment, however our customer mix continues to shift as our company footprint has expanded.”
DSG also has an automation group and a UL-listed panel building shop, which gives it the ability to manufacture and assemble products for industrial and municipal projects.
The company is employee-owned, which means customers are always working with an owner. With a firm belief in “The Power of We,” DSG employee-owners see each customer as a partner and each projects as if it was their own.
“With 33 locations, we have a strong regional presence,” said Eber. “The things that give us an advantage are our ownership structure—being employee-owned, having a strong local presence and serving our customers with a coordinated effort and a strong entrepreneurial spirit to help our customers be successful.”
The company is also going through a leadership transformation. “Within the last nine months, we transitioned from a long-time CEO to having a new CEO as of early June,” Eber said.
Paul Kennedy is the new CEO. Tracey Koenig is the new chief information officer and Brent Rudser is the new chief financial officer. This new leadership has already had a positive impact on company culture and is embracing new technology to boost employee productivity and better customer service. “With technology, it’s an area we are progressing rapidly,” Eber said. “Technology is one of the most active areas in our industry, and really any industry, but it’s also one of the most nebulous. As we’re looking at technology, we look at it through a lens that helps our employees do their jobs faster and more accurately, along with bringing more value, information and accessibility to our customers.”
To prove it is focused on the growth and productivity of its customers, DSG makes three promises in its Customer
Service Guarantee (CSG) program:
- 100 Percent Order Accuracy: Customers get exactly what they order.
- Top 200 Items Always Stocked: Products on DSG’s “Top 200 List” are ready when customers need them.
- Two-Day Stock Credit: DSG issues a credit within two business days on stock returns.
If DSG falls short on any of these promises, the company issues a $25 CSG certificate that can be redeemed on a future purchase.
DSG employee-owners also believe in making a difference in the communities where they live. They acknowledge their civic responsibility by contributing to causes and organizations focused on helping others live better lives, such as the Special Olympics, Salvation Army, United Way, American Cancer Society and local fire departments and humane societies. That’s why all employee owners have the opportunity to use a half-day to volunteer paid by DSG.
Clearly the financial aspect of being a member of the IMARK Group is important to DSG, but year in and year out the company truly values the networking and learning opportunities at IMARK’s Showcase and annual meeting. Deepening relationships with manufacturers and other peer distributors has been critical to its business success.
To learn more about DSG, visit dakotasupplygroupcom.