For far too long, many IMARK members have been shut out of opportunities to provide electrical and lighting MRO products to multi-plant manufacturing companies that purchase materials via a national or regional supply contact.
Those days are over.
IM Supply, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is an umbrella organization that links IMARK distributors across North America and interfaces with corporate procurement departments on their behalf. With IM Supply, IMARK distributors can compete with national distributors like WESCO and Graybar and grow sales and increase share at industrial customers.
Initially founded by 14 IMARK member investors, IM Supply is now available to all IMARK members that may face the potential loss of business to a national chain offering a national supply contract for MRO supplies. For IMARK members, there is no investment required to partner with IM Supply other than a small transaction fee on customer orders placed under contract.
“We provide IMARK members with access to customers who prefer to transact with national account companies,” says Jared Hoover, president of IM Supply. “Customers like this would traditionally partner with large nationwide distributors. IM Supply provides an avenue into competitive RFPs and can go after bigger customers in their geographic footprints.”
Olin Corporation: A success story
IM Supply delivers a powerful value proposition to its industrial clients: national coverage with local support and local inventory.
National or global MRO product distributors who answer to shareholders frequently pull back on local resources—people and inventory—depending on market conditions. Many plant customers find themselves with “local” reps in distant locations with local branches lacking adequate inventory to keep plant operations running smoothly.
Leveraging IMARK distributors, IM Supply can deliver local service backed with the national resources of the big MRO supply companies. An example of how this plays out is Olin Corporation. The Fortune 500 chemical company had a relationship with IMARK member Summit Electric in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which gave IM Supply a leg up when the company began looking for a national MRO partner.
Thanks to strength of Summit’s incumbency and the overall quality of the IM Supply fulfillment network, Olin signed with IM Supply for a three-year deal to service eight plants in New York, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. Summit is still servicing its original plants and Mayer in Birmingham, Alabama and Wholesale Electric in Texarkana, Texas are working with the others. The arrangement has generated millions of dollars in incremental sales for these distributors while delivering more than $250,000 in cost savings to Olin.
Other IM Supply success stories include Foster Farms—ranked by Forbes as one of the largest private companies in the United States—and Drax Biomass. Polaris, the recreational vehicle manufacturer and another IM Supply customer, has enjoyed improved inventory management and documented value provided.
“IM Supply fulfills contracts through regionally-based distributors that invest heavily in their people and their inventory,” says Keith Jack, vice president of business development. “That makes local plant managers very happy. Procurement executives at corporate headquarters value keeping their plant staff happy. Furthermore, they enjoy the benefits of a national account, such as a single point of contact, competitive pricing structures and documented value provided on a consistent basis.”
How IM Supply delivers for distributors and customers
The IM Supply team (sales, account support and contract implementation staff) serves as a bridge between corporate procurement departments for large industrial companies and the various IMARK distributors that service the plants locally.
The arrangement is win-win for everyone. On the corporate level, procurement departments want a single point of contact, rather than a different vendor for every plant, to simplify vendor management. Having one vendor also makes ERP system integration and ordering easy. Procurement managers are also interested in leveraging organization-wide MRO spend, which is difficult when spend is spread out among several vendors.
Plant managers and engineers enjoy working with suppliers who can service them locally (within 30 miles of the plant). In many cases, contracting with IM Supply allows plants to continue working with their incumbent MRO partners.
For IMARK distributors, benefits include deepening existing client relationships and building new ones with customers they couldn’t have otherwise acquired as regional distributors.
“There’s zero risk for IMARK distributors when engaging with IM Supply,” says Dave McGowan, vice president of sales. “It’s their relationship with the client and they get to keep their relationships intact. We work with the corporate champion to strengthen that relationship and build competitive barriers so they can continue doing business with the local customer long term.”
It’s not only IMARK distributors that can enjoy the benefits of working with IM Supply. Manufacturers can increase their business and gain new customers through collaborating with IM Supply. “Working with IMARK manufacturers enhances our ability to price market baskets by aligning with more manufacturers,” says Jack.
IMARK members who want to learn more about IM Supply can visit IMARK University (imarkgroup.com). Click on “IM Supply” in the Course Directory to review two courses that explain how your company can benefit by working with IM Supply.
For more information, visit imsupplygroup.com.