Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Kimball Midwest is one of the largest distributors in the industrial maintenance aftermarket in the United States. The family-owned business has provided service and product-based solutions to MRO professionals across the country since 1923. The company’s sales have grown from $1 million in 1983 to $150 million in 2011. The company’s stock catalog features more than 45,000 in-stock products, including: fasteners, drill bits, abrasives products, electrical terminals, chemicals, paints, and hydraulics. Kimball Midwest ships approximately 99 percent of all orders the same day they are received.The company has three distribution centers strategically located to ensure fast delivery. Regardless of whether an order ships from a warehouse in Columbus, Dallas, or Reno, it typically arrives at the customer’s location within 24 to 48 hours. Kimball Midwest’s employees pride themselves on being problem-solvers for their end-use customers. More than 600 sales representatives across the United States work hand-in-hand with each customer. As a result of this personal attention, the company has amassed more than 200,000 customers nationwide with each relationship designed to enhance their customer’s efficiency and success.One superb example of this approach is the decades-long partnership Kimball Midwest has shared with Iowa construction com pany, Manatts, Inc., which is detailed in this issue in the article: “A Winning Partnership,” on page 16. What differentiates the company from most MRO suppliers is the cost-savings programs offered to help customers better Control how they manage maintenance hardware and other small, consumable items. By identifying the unique needs of an organization, Kimball Midwest can offer customized materials management systems and on-site support. These systems are designed to lower overall MRO costs for an organization by eliminating obsolete inventory, standardizing product, setting appro priate inventory levels, ensuring proper organization of MRO storage areas for quick and easy access, and providing service at the appropriate interval for each location. Kimball Midwest’s highly trained sales force is dedicated to partnering with the customer to achieve their goals. Their vendor-managed inventory services can make a significant impact on a customer’s bottom line by eliminating obsolete inventory, standardizing product, setting appropriate minimum and maximum inventory levels, organizing storage areas for quick and easy access, and setting the service interval that best accomplishes each facility’s goals. The goal is to take the responsibility of managing MRO inventory out of the hands of overworked maintenance personnel and into the hands of a Kimball Midwest specialist, who has experience managing (literally) thousands of expendable items. Think your company doesn’t order enough of these products to matter?Consider that while a typical purchase of maintenance repair products is under $100, multiple purchases of such items Can quickly total thousands of dollars.In addition, acquisition costs, possession costs, and application costs often add up to more than the cost of the product itself.Plus, your company might make hundreds of such purchases each year. Remember: It’s the little things that add up. Consider, too, that Kimball Midwest’s product line consists of high-quality, American-made products designed to last longer and perform better than those provided by the competition, ensuring more efficient results and longer life. This results in a definitive cost savings to each customer. Each year, the company introduces new products to its portfolio. But first, the products undergo rigorous testing and analysis to ensure they meet the high standards of Kimball Midwest’s customers.The selection process is so demanding that only a small fraction of potential products make the cut. Kimball Midwest has a dedicated Product Development Team that works with many of the industry’s leading vendors to expand the product offering with the most innovative and reliable items available. American-made products are a staple of the product line. Nearly 90 percent of Kimball Midwest’s stocked items are made in the United States, which is an extraordinary percentage in an industry where imported product now makes up a growing share of most distributors’ offerings. In addition, the depth and breadth of the product line allows the company to be a single-source supplier to customers. In addition to an exceptional stock offering, the company has access to nearly a half million other hard-to-find parts through special arrangements with vendors. So, if there’s a product you need, odds are Kimball Midwest can get it for you. Kimball Midwest provides value-added services that offer cost-savings solutions.The personal sales repre sentative is key, working with each customer to ensure their MRO parts remain organized, maintained and serviced on a regular basis. In fact, it’s like having an unpaid employee on your team to manage the costs of these nickel and dime nuisance items. No other company in the industrial distribution industry brings the value-added service and problem-solving products to customers on a daily basis the way the Kimball Midwest sales force delivers them. The result is a value proposition that customers and potential customers not only identify with, but also benefit from. By providing the personal service of a knowledgeable sales rep, unique problemsolving products, and custom-tailored solutions to any sized shop, the Kimball Midwest vendor-managed inventory service provides a unique solution in today’s marketplace.The result for your organization is the kind of service and quality you expect but rarely receive. It’s a custombuilt partnership in the truest sense of the word, created to positively impact your effectiveness. To explore the many potential rewards a long-term “partnership in performance” with Kimball Midwest would provide your organization, please contact them directly at 800.233.1294, or visit www.kimballmidwest.com. A WINNING PARTNERSHIP Kimball Midwest’s long-term relationship with Manatts, Inc. is a great example of the win-win partnership approach the company takes with its customers. From the beginning this was a partnership that just made sense. The numerous similarities between Kimball Midwest and its Iowa-based customer Manatts, Inc. in terms of structure, culture, and core values made them an ideal fit for one another. The story dates back to 1979 when Kimball Midwest sales representative John Sams began working with Jim Bim in Manatts’ parts department. Bim knew Sams as an honest, respectable, and an “all-around great guy” whose dedication to Manatts included nightly service work, running on-site instructional classes on fluid flow products, and supplying the company its fasteners. He was also well-known for his extensive knowledge and service skills. The personal approach Sams brought to the account is typical of any Kimball Midwest representative and evident in the true value the company strives to bring each customer. They are not mere nut and bolt salespeople. At Manatts, for example, one of Sams’ first tasks was to organize and clean-up a part room that Bim termed “an absolute disaster.” The result of his many hours of hard work was a shop that operated much more efficiently and with far less downtime. At Manatts Sams worked to cultivate the powerful relationship between the two companies. The fruits of his labor are reflected through the growth of both companies over the years. When the partnership first began the Kimball Midwest representative was making service visits to a single Manatts location, but as the customer grew, the partnership expanded to additional locations, as well. Although Sams passed away in 2007, the companies’ partnership continues thanks to Kimball Midwest’s Tony Sorenson who currently manages the Manatts account. Sorenson has worked hard to carry on the tradition of unparalleled service and continuous improvement Sams instilled in the partnership many years ago. “We look to work with our customers to find solutions to the day-to-day problems that happen in the field,” Sorenson explains. “Todd Kriegel, who has been in parts with Manatts for many years, tells me how he and John (Sams) would work on finding solutions for hydraulic fittings issues. Todd would then use those solutions to help solve issues at Manatts.” For his part, Sorenson has made continuous enhancements to Manatts’ shops and continues to service each of their numerous locations along with their service trucks, job trailers, and portable plants during construction season. James Weiermann, who manages both the truck shop and the part department at Manatts, says he has always appreciated the quality and service that Kimball Midwest provides. That appreciation is evident in the mutual respect between the two companies and reflected in the shared values of quality and service each provides their customers. “There is no company who takes better care of equipment in the construction industry than Manatts. They have high expectations for keeping their equipment top notch for safety and reliability,” Sorenson notes.“We at Kimball Midwest also have high expectations for our products, representatives, and our facilities. Both companies believe strongly in being good partners.” Kimball Midwest and Manatts also share a devotion to their employees and the result is an enviable longevity of many of their workers. “Both companies recognize and appreciate good employees,” Sorenson says proudly. “For example, James has been a truck shop mechanic, truck shop manager, parts manager, and now services both the truck shop and the parts department at Manatts. Likewise, John Sams once wore many hats for Kimball Midwest through his long career from day-to-day selling to managing several states.” The result is experienced employees with a broad knowledge base who have the ability to solve problems every day. “Kimball Midwest and Manatts have partnered for the last 30 years with both companies seeing continuous growth.That’s at least partially because we implement the same values within our companies in terms of quality and service. It’s just an everyday expectation at both Manatts and Kimball Midwest,” Sorenson concludes. The companies augment similar philosophical approaches with practical methods of ensuring a successful partnership. For instance, both organizations have com - patible systems in place for ordering needed parts each week. This automates the process and is a significant time-saver.Kimball Midwest has implemented a barcode system for their parts that plays a significant role in simplifying the ordering process and ensuring accuracy. This system makes it easy to label and assign barcodes, which the sales representative can then scan to order the required parts.These improvements play a pivotal role in ensuring prompt and accurate invoicing. Kimball Midwest and Manatts, Inc. have formed a true win-win partnership. It is little wonder this long-standing relationship has been preserved and continues to evolve.Kimball Midwest provides service and quality that is second-to-none in the industry, qualities their customers recognize and appreciate. The partnership with Manatts was forged on a foundation of trust, exemplary service, and unmatched dedication that continue to define it to this day. It is a partnership designed to continue for many years to come.
Published by American Fastener Journal. View All Articles.
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