No business is an island unto itself. There are vendors and suppliers on one end and customers on the other, all interlocked and working toward mutual gain. How well those parties work together determines how much gain there is to be made, and the smart ones always play nice. At least that’s the messaging Intel is sending out with its Technology Provider Program, which helps channel partners create, support and sell Intel-based products and solutions across many devices and for many industries. 

Forty years ago, the convenience store industry was not what it is today. But once oil marketers got hip to the success of 7-Eleven, all of them wanted in. During the late 1970s and 1980s, the industry experienced rapid growth. Now that we are in the 21st century, leading convenience store distributer Eby-Brown has found that the industry is experiencing rapid change. 

“Over the company’s history, things have changed quite a bit,” says Joe Roenna, executive vice president of merchandising and procurement. “Thirty-five years ago it was more toward the drugstore business and we focused on candy and tobacco. Convenience stores didn’t even exist to the extent that they do today. But as the market changed, the company changed with it.”

Every day, the employees of millions of businesses purchase products for their companies from distributors and retailers with varying degrees of oversight. Purchases are made online, through a faxed purchase order, over the telephone or, in a minority of cases, in person. For companies everywhere – especially large ones – the potential savings from smart purchases are substantial, but does the company have the information, safeguards, systems and reporting in place to ensure that smart and economical purchases are being made prior to the employee purchase? According to Cy Kennedy, president of American Product Distributors (APD) Inc., “Our eLink™ Gateway system does.”

PetroChoice’s business may involve fluids, but the business actually revolves around people, CEO Shane O’Kelly says. “People are ultimately the most important part of our company,” he says. “We’re fortunate to have many hard workers dedicated to doing tremendous work each and every day.”

President of the Mid-Atlantic Division and Chief Strategy Officer Bob Mills adds that employees make sure that their customers are proud to be partners with PetroChoice. “They put us in a position to grow profitably,” he says, noting that the firm represents companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp., Shell, ConocoPhillips Co., Valvoline, Petro-Canada and Castrol Ltd.

At Nicholas and Company, being the preferred choice for its customers is based on offering them, well, choices. As a foodservice distributor working with public and private entities big and small, Nicholas and Company provides more than 14,000 line items to customers across  eight states. That includes its home base of Utah, as well as Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Montana and Wyoming. Peter Mouskondis, the third-generation president and CEO of the family owned company, says that Nicholas and Company has always lived by the attitude that if its customers can sell it, then the company will be flexible in being a partner with its customers in mutual success.   

Pipeline Packaging, the largest industrial packaging distributor – and upcoming commercial distributor – in the United States, enjoys a successful business strategy: Partner with other growing companies, treat them and their businesses with respect and be the people that are essential to the customers’ ongoing growth. Fulfilling that strategy requires a multi-focused approach that includes a healthy product mix, warehousing and just-in-time delivery, a variety of packaging engineering services, and above all, a dedication to the philosophy of customers first.

“We provide packaging and turnkey solutions to the people who put the products in the containers,” President Mary Dahl explains. “We are the largest steel pail, plastic pail and tin can distributor in the United States. We also sell anything from 2-ounce bottles through 55-gallon drums and 275-pound totes.”

Millions of people have looked to Herbalife to help them live healthier and more active lives for more than 30 years. With 3 million-plus independent members and distributors of its food, nutrition and personal care products in more than 90 countries and many more millions of daily consumers, the Los Angeles-based company has grown to become one of the world’s leading direct sales companies since founder Mark Hughes sold his first protein shake in 1980. 

Instead of just staying the course and maintaining its business at its current levels, Herbalife continues to grow and expand not only in terms of its global footprint, but also its internal operations. “We have a philosophy that we can always build it better,” COO Rich Goudis says. “We never cross the goal line, we just continue to move the ball down the field.”

Helping customers keep things clean has been Dalco Enterprises Inc.’s mission for more than 50 years, and co-owner and President Ted Stark III says the company’s base of experience has made it one of the market leaders in the upper Midwest. One of the primary reasons why Dalco has maintained such a strong position for such a long time is the fact that it remains a family owned and operated company. 

Founded in 1959 by three partners, Stark’s father joined Dalco a year later, bringing his financial expertise to the startup company. Two of the founding partners left soon after, selling their shares to Stark’s father. By the early 1970s, the last of the founding partners had left Dalco, leaving Stark’s father with full control of the company. 

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