Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - 34


MANUFACTURER'S REPRESENTATIVES

SMITH & STEVENSON

www.smithandstevenson.com / HQ: Charlotte, N.C. / Employees: 33 / Specialty: Manufacturer's representative /
Alan Tingler, president: "We try to be product experts so we can be the go-to people for our customers."

Product
Experts
Smith & Stevenson serves
plumbers with its expertise.

BY CHRIS PETERSEN

F

or most people, plumbing

is something they rarely pay attention to unless it's not working,
and it's the job of plumbing wholesalers
and professionals to ensure that they
never have to worry about it. Those professionals, in turn, need to know that the
distributors and manufacturer's representatives they work with will give them
nothing to worry about, either. That's
why the plumbing industry in North and
South Carolina have turned to Smith &
Stevenson for more than 50 years.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based manufacturer's representative has been serving
the industry since 1963, when Lee Smith
and Don Stevenson founded the company. Smith had been representing Oatey
Co. and Delta Faucet, while Stevenson
represented copper tubing manufacturers as well as Charlotte Pipe and Foundry.
The company says its relationships with
those three brands continue to this day,
and over the years Smith & Stevenson has
grown to represent numerous other market-leading brands of plumbing products.
President Alan Tingler says Smith
& Stevenson's primary customers are
plumbing wholesalers, although the company also serves customers including
waterworks wholesalers. Although the
competition in the Carolinas is strong,
Tingler says Smith & Stevenson has
strong marketshare, and he attributes

34 www.wdimagazine.com Spring 2016

Smith & Stevenson has been representing major
brands longer than most anyone in the Carolinas.

the company's success to its focus on the
fundamentals of customer service and its
strong core of qualified and experienced
employees. "We get challenged every day
in the marketplace by our competitors,
and we just continue to do the things that
we're supposed to do," he says.

FULLY EXPERIENCED
One of the most important advantages
Smith & Stevenson has at its disposal is its
longevity, according to Tingler. Not only
has the company been representing major
brands longer than almost anyone else in
the Carolinas, but the company's longevity
also means its employees have more expertise than the average salesperson. "We have
a lot of experience here," Tingler says. "We
try to be product experts so we can be the
go-to people for our customers."
Tingler says that in addition to the company's in-house people, its network of outside salespeople means customers always
have someone close by who is knowledgeable about the products and ready to serve
all of their needs. He says the company's
primary focus is on being easy to work with,
and Smith & Stevenson always works hard

to ensure that it gets the fundamentals of
customer service right. "To me, it's all about
basic blocking and tackling," Tingler says.
Making sure the company accomplishes
all of its objectives means Smith & Stevenson is very conscientious about its obligations to its customers as well as the manufacturers it represents. "Part of that is we
have to be disciplined, we have to have a
good game plan, and we set targets to reach
and try to be as efficient and organized as
we can," Tingler says.
A major part of the reason why Smith
& Stevenson can be as efficient and organized as it is lies in the company's use
of technology. Tingler says the company strives to have the most advanced
internal information and management
systems in place to ensure it and its customers always know where products are
and when they can be expected to arrive.
He adds that Smith & Stevenson is in the
midst of upgrading those internal systems right now, a process he describes
as expensive and time-consuming but
ultimately necessary to ensure the company's continued success and customer
satisfaction.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016

Contents
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Cover1
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Cover2
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - 1
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Contents
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Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Cover3
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