On The Rise: ID's 2019 Watch List, Part 2

Id 38792 Watch List Final 0

When the annual Industrial Distribution Big 50 is put together, we always have a keen awareness that there are a multitude of companies doing impressive, innovative work that don’t have quite the breadth to breaking into the ranking. With that in mind, the Watch List was created.

Now in its eighth year, the Watch List gives us a chance to spotlight those companies that might not yet have reached the scope necessary to slip into the Big 50, but are still making a positive impact in the field. Nominations were solicited online and from major trade organizations, and below is part two of our list of the companies that stood out.

Click here for part one of the 2019 Watch List. 

Id 38774 3b Supply Logo

3B Supply

What are the key product categories for the company?

As an Onsite Integrator, we cover all indirect categories from Abrasives to Welding. In terms of revenue, our top-selling product is Production Cutting Tools.

What are the defining qualities of the company culture?

We put employees ahead of customers and vendors because happy employees equals happy customers and vendors. We have virtually zero voluntary turnover, and for the past 10 years, the company pays out 20-25 percent of profits back to employees.

What makes current or potential customers choose you over your competitors?

We charge overall lower prices than competition and provide dedicated 24/7, onsite service. Our customer-facing employees are assigned to only one customer. 

What is the company’s approach to growth strategy? Is it organic-based, acquisition-based, or both?

One hundred percent organic. In 2011, we did not supply vending machines or crib management. However, we realized that vending has advantages and not being an expert at it was a major hindrance, so we developed machines, hardware, and software for automatic dispensation and crib management from the ground up, which went to market in 2015 as a standalone company called SecuraStock. This transition spurred our growth.   

When the company needs to hire, where does it look for talent?

We use mainly two avenues: Indeed.com and local employment agencies. We almost always have open position, so this is a never-ending process for us. This year we are investing in our recruiting areas above and beyond the previous years. 

What goals does the company have moving forward?

We’ve been doubling in size every three years since the 2008 company restructuring and re-definition. We’d like to continue this trend for at least nine more. 

Id 38777 3b Supply Image Id 38780 Earnest Logo

Earnest Machine

What are the key product categories for the company?

We supply large diameter and hard-to-find fasteners for agriculture, construction equipment, heavy transportation, mining, structural construction, and wind industries.

What are the defining qualities of the company culture?

We do what we say we will do, and we put the customer first in our decision making process. We also respect our customers, suppliers, and one another. Last, Earnest Machine embraces change.

These qualities allow for very nimble, evolving teammates that are understanding, flexible, and work together to create a great employee and customer experience. 

The company makes decisions based off employee wellbeing. For example, employees don’t have to use vacation time for anything other than vacation, and are encouraged to tend to their personal issues without losing out on time off.

What makes current or potential customers choose you over your competitors?

Customers are able to buy only the quantity they need for their own customers, saving our customers money and space.

Additionally, while our competitors carry some of the same products, we still have hard-to-find sizes.

Finally, we carefully track our Distribution Performance Metrics on a monthly basis, and send the report to all of our customers, regardless if it’s positive or negative because we value transparency.

What is the company’s approach to growth strategy? Is it organic-based, acquisition-based, or both?

We take an organic approach in that we have a robust group of customers with whom we have a solid working relationship. Annually, we review purchases this customer has made from the previous three years to discuss needs they will have in the upcoming year, and so we can discuss products they might not have been aware that we carry.

We also take an acquisition-based approach when there is an opportunity that would best benefit our customers. For example, several years ago we received feedback that our customers would benefit from receiving secondary services on the parts they order, such as drilling, plating, cut/thread/chamfer, etc. Because the need was there, we felt it was time to acquire a manufacturing facility in order fulfill those needs.

Does the company have any notable involvement in regular or ongoing community service efforts? We work with Meals on Wheels on a weekly basis delivering hot meals to location participants. We have also partnered with the Marines for seasonal assistance participating in their Toys for Tots program every holiday season.

Every June, employees and their friends and family join the Rocky River Watershed Council to help clean up the Cleveland Metroparks.

Additionally, our CEO, Kirk Zehnder, has created a 3x100 challenge where he has committed to doing a 100 mile run, speak with 100 customers about their relationship with Earnest, and challenge those 100 customers to donate to Laura’s Home, a local Cleveland charity totaling $100,000.

Id 38783 Earnest Image Id 38786 O Ring Logo

O-ring Sales & Service, Inc.

What are the key product categories for the company?

We supply O-rings, gaskets, engineered seals, custom molded products, shaft seals, hydraulic/pneumatic seals, and seal kits.

What are the defining qualities of the company culture?

Our employees are very experienced due to a very low turnover and the hundreds of years of combined experience. Our employees are also enthusiastic about the business, its operations, and our customers.

The company also fosters a team atmosphere, and prioritizes respect for coworkers and business associates.

What makes current or potential customers choose you over your competitors?

We make it easy for our customers to do business with us. Quick response times, easy access to vital information, and user friendly and flexible electronic data solutions are all ways we make things simple for our customers.

We also equip our team with the best technological tools and most vital analytics so that they can quickly make the best decisions for us and the customer.  These tools, including custom analytics software developed in-house, custom mobile warehouse applications, intelligent counting scales, etc, allow us to ship accurately and quickly, stock effectively, price competitively, and generally provide our customers with a superior level of service over the competition.

Our company offers a unique, independent fluid power testing facility in Omaha, Nebraska, allowing us to provide broad, cost-effective, and customizable testing services with experienced hydraulic engineering support.

Does the company have any notable involvement in regular or ongoing community service efforts?

In recent years we have been involved with Kansas City area non-profit organizations such as Rise Against Hunger, Freedom Fire Urban Ministries, Youthfront Camps, and Mission Adelante.  

What goals does the company have moving forward?

We expect continued organic growth by focusing on marketing and improving on our established differentiators, and to further pursue innovation within our company for the benefit of our customers.

Lastly, as may other private, family-run distributors are being acquired by larger organizations, we hope to maintain and improve our competitive position and advantages in the marketplace.

Id 38789 O Ring Image
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