Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2017 - 47
JIS, DIVISION OF JERGENS INC.
The JIS app is designed to look like a manufacturing floor, and gives
salespeople and customers a virtual look at the product lineup.
tary items or easily demonstrate the
breadth of the products JIS can supply.
"One of the things we've come to realize
is that sometimes a customer will put
you in a box and say, 'You provide me
your cutting tools or this item,'" Matt
explains. "I think customers are looking
for you to provide full solutions."
The end-goal is to increase the number
and variety of items each customer buys.
The custom apps JIS develops support
that effort, but they don't do any good if
the sales team doesn't use them. To encourage adoption, JIS implemented a
scorecard system about a year-and-a-half
ago that rates each salesperson on six different criteria, including the number of
suppliers sold to each client. Ratings are
tracked monthly and can impact a salesperson's compensation.
JIS's distribution area covers all of Ohio
and parts of Michigan and Pennsylvania.
The challenge with distribution, Matt
says, is that the overall market grows
slowly. JIS has found that the most effective way to expand marketshare by
acquiring smaller distributors, taking on
those customers, then showing new clients that JIS can be their complete solutions provider so that they shift more
of their spend to the company. The distributors JIS targets for acquisitions are
typically family-owned businesses in the
$3 million to $5 million range that are undergoing a transition and are not sure of
the direction to take going forward.
The latest such acquisition came in
May, when JIS purchased B&G Supply of
Akron, Ohio, an industrial supplier that
served northeast Ohio for more than 40
years. The move brings JIS closer to its
Akron-area customers and positions the
company to support businesses working
on the Utica Shale natural gas deposits in
the eastern part of the state.
Competitors have been willing to sell
their business to JIS because of the company's reputation as a family-oriented
business. Many of JIS's clients are family owned themselves, typically having
fewer than 75 employees. Price is always
important, but those customers also
value the smaller ways JIS partners with
their business, whether it's by sending a
Christmas card every holiday season or
taking a customer out for a drink after
work. "That size company truly appreciates and understands what that means,"
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