LOCKPORT, NY — NetPlus Alliance, a national buying group with more than 400 industrial and contractor supplies distributor members, has teamed up with Texas A&M University to launch the Small Distributor Consortium. The goal of the program is to use Texas A&M’s research-based methods to identify and recommend best practices that will help small industrial and contractor supplies distributors become more profitable.
“We are proud to partner with this prestigious program, which is one of the preeminent industrial distribution programs in the United States,” said Jennifer Murphy, president of NetPlus Alliance.
Texas A&M’s researchers have been collecting data on distributors since the program’s inception in 1956, and have already conducted in-depth research on best practices among mid-sized to large distributors through their Optimizing Distributor Profitability Consortium in 2008.
“This is a unique opportunity for smaller independent distributors to go through this same in-depth process, and learn from best practices implemented at similarly sized distributors across the country,” said NetPlus Alliance Chairman Dan Judge.
Paul Byrnes, Vice President of Distributor Development, and Kerry Atlas, Vice President of Finance and Operations, joined NetPlus distributor member companies in January for the launch of the consortium at Texas A&M.
Next steps include a visit to each of the participating distributors’ businesses by a team that includes undergraduate and graduate students, as well as professors from Texas A&M who will collect data and provide recommendations so that the distributors can make impactful changes to their business. Dr. Barry Lawrence, program coordinator for Texas A&M’s industrial distribution program, said individual distributors participating in the consortium will be able to identify and understand best practices, quantify their value, and prioritize initiatives that will have the greatest impact on their companies.
“The strength of NetPlus Alliance participating in this consortium is that they bring a unifying principle to our efforts,” Lawrence said. “The members are more open to sharing their ideas, plans and strategies with other members, and they pull from the experiences of other NetPlus Alliance distributors to add more depth.”
NetPlus will be partnering with A&M to provide exclusive educational sessions based on the best practices that were uncovered. “We’re on a path right now to better support the education of our distributor members,” Atlas said. “The more we know about the types of companies that are a part of our organization and the more we can garner best practices from those that are successful, the better we are able to share that with the rest of our membership and support their long-term growth.”
“It’s not necessarily the case that what has worked well for large distributors will work for small distributors,” said Jeremy Kirkpatrick of participating NetPlus distributor member M&M Sales, Odessa, TX. “The consortium kickoff has given us ideas to improve our 2018 plan, and we expect our 2019 plan will be even better.”
C&C Supply Company, Woodbury, NJ, is also participating in the consortium. “You go in with an open mind, thinking about how you can benefit your business, as well as contribute to industry research in hopes it will also help other small businesses succeed,” said C&C’s Cheryl Hoffman-Coniglio.
NetPlus Alliance’s partnership with Texas A&M is part of the NetPlus Academy, whose aim it is to improve educational and training opportunities for its members.