Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2017 - 26
move on," Montana President and owner Jennifer Muhlrad says. "All they need
to do is plug in and play."
Montana's focus on value-added services stems from Muhlrad's adoption of a
blue ocean strategy. The strategy encourages companies in competitive, or red
ocean, markets to develop points or differentiation that will guide them to open
and clear waters where they can more
freely expand their business. Muhlrad realized that for Montana to grow she had
to expand her product and service offerings to keep pace with the evolving needs
of Montana's customer base. All of the
value-added services the company has
developed in the past year revolve around
that idea of relevancy.
Before 2016, Montana operated purely
as a distributor of American-made electrical, data, transit, telephone, conduit,
video, fire alarm and industrial cabling.
During 2016, Montana significantly expanded its service offerings, dedicating
over six months to get the value-added
services up and running. By the end of
it, Montana says her employees were fatigued but got through the difficult process. "One thing that shouldn't be taken
for granted is the importance of having
a good team," she says. "And I strongly
believe that Montana has one of the best
teams in our industry."
26 www.wdimagazine.com Spring 2017
In business for 20 years, Montana takes pride in the
long-term history it has with many clients and vendors.
Much of the work required to set up Montana's expanded range of service products was centered on the company's new
facility in New York's Orange County, located about 60 miles north of its main facility in Long Island City, a neighborhood
in Queens. The Orange County facility is
a 15,000-square-foot building with 40foot ceiling and plenty of racking for storage services.
Opening a second location also serves
as an insurance policy to maintain operations. The rise in building activity around
New York City may be great for business
opportunities, but the encroachment of
high-rise developments in Long Island
City is threatening to push out longtime
industrial tenants such as Montana.
The new Orange County location will
help the company continue to provide
uninterrupted service to its customers
in the event Montana would have to relocate its Long Island City facility.
Increasing its service offerings meant
Montana needed to change how it approached service. The company has long
been seen as a reliable distributor, but
if Montana was going to be successful
with its value-added products it needed
to further expand its customer support
Montana has dedicated increased resources to responding to customer questions, while at the same time providing
the warm customer service Montana is
known for. Muhlrad and her team strive
to develop a personal connection with
their customers. "If they [the customer]
chuckle a little bit in the morning while
they are placing their order, it goes a long
way," Muhlrad says she's learned.