From the President’s Console: February 1998

Posted February 1998

Do you think of yourself as a retailer?

Recently, someone asked me why customers coming into a typical welding supply/industrial gas distributor come in expecting some type of special price on the goods being sold. The answer I offered is; the typical welding supply distributor does not think of himself as a retailer. Many distributorships were founded by veterans coming back from war. They knew torch repair, or how to weld, and the welding supply and industrial gas business grew by chance out of their trade. But did they ever grow to become a retailer?

Are you striving to implement programs and technologies that make you more like Wal-Mart and K-Mart? I can tell you Wal-Mart and K-Mart are implementing programs to sell to your typical customers. And, with their admittedly better buying power, they’re able to undercut you on price every time. Selling on “customer service” is a fine idea, but sometimes not enough to overcome “price”.

These programs and technologies include self serve stores with attractive designs that draw traffic in. Barcoding systems implemented into your computer system that increase speed and accuracy in processing an order. Inventory databases that contain the entire catalog of parts offered for sale (uploaded from vendors price diskettes) rather than just the few you chose to manually enter. And, stocking levels computed by an automated system to select which/how many parts to stock, rather than using the old “SWAG” method.

The self serve store you’ll have to work out yourself, but for the barcoding and inventory concepts we’ve got you covered. Give us a call, and let us help you become a retailer.

Last month we announced a new Pentium-II dual processor system with a SCSI disk subsystem. Reports from a couple of installations have exceeded all expectations. Users report a substantial increase in speed, even over same generation PentiumPRO dual processor systems! So, if you’re looking for pure, unadulterated speed, we’ve got it covered. 

–David J Frea