Every year, offices become more automated, and the equipment they require is putting a strain on the tech savviness of mom-and-pop dealers, whose businesses may have been founded in the days of adding machines and typewriters. “It’s getting more and more high-tech,” RJ Young President and CEO Chip Crunk declares. “The whole business is changing, where the mom-and-pop small dealers are having a real tough time competing because of the infrastructure you have to have in place to support your products. Ten years ago, if you had a little technical or sales knowledge, you could sell IT, but the future is large mega-dealers like us and manufacturers to support the kind of technologically advanced products we’re talking about.”

These include large-volume copiers, printers and engineering machines that can weigh from 10,000 to 20,000 pounds and can print thousands of copies of documents as large as books. “It could be very high-volume production equipment, or it could be just a desktop printer for your office,” Crunk says of RJ Young’s product line. One color-printing production machine RJ Young distributes costs $250,000 and can produce as many as a million impressions monthly.

Simply put, the people at PAPCO help customers manage the complicated and volatile process of fuel procurement. With access to millions of barrels of fuel storage throughout the Eastern United States, this Virginia Beach-based petroleum marketer ensures delivery, monitors levels and provides customized price risk management programs for commercial end users of gasoline, diesel, biofuels, heating oil and marine fuels. Closer to home (with a 150-mile radius), they also supply commercial, industrial and automotive lubricants, propane, kerosene and diesel exhaust fluid. 

“Using our vast combination of product opportunities, we help customers fuel smarter by customizing solutions to fit their business,” Director of Marketing Frank Daniels says. “It’s very much a consultative selling process. We really value our long-term relationships.”

Martin One Source’s name tells the whole story – the company is dedicated to being the single source for its customers’ needs whether those needs are for office products, break room/janitorial, or printing services. President Dave Moravec says the company holds itself to the highest possible standards because it knows how much its customers depend on it. “It’s been our goal to provide our customers with the best possible service and the highest-quality products,” Moravec says. “Our success as a company is a result of our long-term commitment to this philosophy.”

Based in Champaign, Ill., Martin One Source has been in business since 1989, when CEO Chuck Martin founded the company as a printing distributor. In 2007, the company added production capabilities to its portfolio, printing its own two- and four-color products, eventually expanding to digital and wide-format printing. In 2013, the company purchased certain assets from 65-year-old office consumables and furniture company WM Putnam, then changed its name to Martin One Source to reflect its added capabilities in these areas.

In the 1980s, Brian Slack and others heard predictions that independent sanitary supply companies would not survive. But Pro-Link Inc. has proved the naysayers wrong, the CEO says. “We’re not only surviving, we’re thriving,” he declares.

Boston-based Pro-Link is a national janitorial supply, marketing and buying organization with more than 125 distribution points across the United States. Slack notes that a group of sanitary supply company owners formed Pro-Link in 1984.

Since then, it has grown to have more than 90 members and provides distributors and customers with over 13,000 SKUs of branded products, including liners, towel and tissue, chemical products and skincare products. Slack, who has been in the industry since 1985, credits Pro-Link’s success to its strategies.

Hy-Vee is determined to do its part to make life easier, healthier and happier, and it helps to do so through its sustainability and healthy living efforts. Hy-Vee360, a website that highlights these efforts, helps better link Hy-Vee with its customers, vendors and others, explains Mike Smith, assistant vice president of real estate and sustainability. “The link we are making is with our focus on healthy living,” he explains. “Sustainability is an extension of that focus.”

Sustainability, environmental and healthy living initiatives are closely related and are, in fact, one and the same thing, Smith says, since promoting the environment also promotes healthy living. 

The Clorox Company maintains a dominant position in a number of consumer product categories such as cleaning and laundry products and is focused on accelerating growth. For Clorox, an important part of enabling growth is to continue attracting and retaining supply chain leaders.  

“The demand for top supply chain talent continues to grow exponentially, and demand is far exceeding available supply,” says Mark Hersh, the company’s director of supply chain strategy. “We’re competing with a lot of organizations for the best people, so we need to keep developing our own people internally so we have that talent.”

Tarr LLC may be a small company, but every year it becomes a larger part of its customers’ operations. The company was founded in 1955 and today is a growing independent, full-service distributor of commodity and specialty chemicals. The products it distributes fall into three major categories: commodity chemicals, high-purity chemicals and oil. It serves a wide range of industries, including automotive, pharmaceutical, energy, construction, food and beverage, agricultural and electronics. 

Tarr performs its job via its Portland, Ore., home base and two other distribution centers – a Seattle-area facility that opened in 1989 and its Phoenix facility, which opened in 1992. Skip Tarr, president and second-generation owner of the company, says the additional facilities allowed Tarr to grow into a regional distributor. 

In 2015, NISSCO will celebrate its 30th year in business. It is one of North America’s leading maintenance and sanitary supply distribution group purchasing organizations and connects more than 250 independent distributors in the janitorial and sanitation (jan-san) market with 80 key suppliers. Its president, Mark Bozich, who has been with the company for 10 years, says NISSCO’s success is thanks not only to everything that the company is, but also to everything that it’s not. Rather than using a flat pricing model that doesn’t take freight costs into account and winds up putting undue burden on many members, NISSCO negotiates with manufacturers on behalf of the distributor to achieve pricing that makes sense for each party. 

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