These are trying times in industrial distribution. An ongoing industrial products recession that started when oil prices began their plunge in the summer of 2014 continues to grip the entire sector, putting a strain on distributors and suppliers alike. Many thought conditions would have improved by now, and certain signs say they have. But several prominent distributors say meaningful recovery is still a ways away.
In a post-earnings conference call in early July, MSC Industrial CEO Erik Gershwind discussed an overall pessimistic view across the market, saying that previous notions of industrial recovery “has given way to more belt tightening and less optimism among our customers.” He went on to mention hearing more talk about “furloughs, time off and even some layoffs,” among distributors and suppliers alike. Likewise, Fastenal’s Q2 fiscal report mentioned that though Q1 showed some signs of economic improvement, it expected plant shutdowns and slowdowns to continue into the third quarter.
Industrial Distribution’s 2016 Survey of Distributor Operations — conducted in March — showed that only 42.5 percent of respondents say their sales increased in 2015, down a whopping 27 percentage points from 2014. That coincided with only 45.2 percent saying profits increased, down 16 points. Going further, 68 percent of respondents picked economic conditions as their primary concern.
Overall, it’s still a gloomy industrial economy and distributors have to make the best it. After several quarters in which companies suffered large year-over-year sales and profit decreases, it appears that consolidation and restructuring efforts are taking effect, making those declines considerably smaller than they were for the majority of 2015.
Despite industry downturn, distributors will survive and keep moving forward. They always have. Current market conditions mean that distributors have had to lean up their operations and get them in better physical condition to navigate these times of weakened demand for industrial products.
ID’s annual Big 50 List typically sees companies reporting higher and higher sales year-over-year, which makes the 2016 all the more interesting as many companies brought in less revenue than in 2015. Read on to find out which distributors moved up, down, or are new to the list compared to last year.
Congratulations to our Big 50 List of industrial distributors.
— Mike Hockett, Editor
Click here to view out the full Big 50 feature in our September/October Digital edition, which includes commentary about, or by, those companies. Here's part one (Nos. 50-31), part two (30-11) and part three (top 10) of our video countdown.
|Rank, Company||2015 Sales||Headquarters||CEO (*also president)||Locations||Employees|
|1. Wolseley||$20.8 billion||Reading, England||John Martin||2,743||37,727|
|2. Würth Group||$12.2 billion||Kunzelsau,
|3. Grainger||$10 billion||Lake Forest, IL||Jim Ryan
(DG Macpherson on 10/1)
|4. Sonepar North America||$9.6 billion||Charleston, SC||David Gabriel||1,014||N/A|
|5. WESCO International||$7.5 billion||Pittsburgh, PA||John Engel||500||9,300|
|6. HD Supply||$7.4 billion||Atlanta, GA||Joe DeAngelo||550||14,000|
|7. Airgas||$5.3 billion||Radnor, PA||Michael Molinini (interim)||1,100||17,000|
|8. Motion Industries||$4.7 billion||Birmingham, AL||Tim Breen||594||6,387|
|9. MRC Global||$4.5 billion||Houston, TX||Andrew Lane*||350||3,900|
|10. Fastenal||$3.9 billion||Winona, MN||Dan Florness||2,605||20,324|
|11. Descours and Cabaud||$3.6 billion||Lyon, France||Alain Morvand||600||12,000|
|12. DistributionNOW||$3 billion||Houston, TX||Robert Workman||300||5,000|
|13. MSC Industrial
|$2.9 billion||Melville, NY||Erik Gershwind*||97||6,510|
|14. WinSupply||$2.7 billion||Dayton, OH||Jack Johnston||580||5,600|
|15. Applied Industrial
|$2.6 billion||Cleveland, OH||Neil Schrimsher*||564||5,716|
|16. ERIKS nv||$2.3 billion||AAlkmaar,
|17. Edgen Murray||
|Baton Rouge, LA||Daniel O'Leary||33||550+|
|18. Interline Brands||Not disclosed||Jacksonville, FL||Michael Grebe||N/A||4,400+|
|19. DXP Enterprises||$1.25 billion||Houston, TX||David Little||191||3,234|
|20. Kaman Industrial
|$1.2 billion||Bloomfield, CT||Steve Smidler, president||238||2,180|
|21. F.W. Webb||$960 million||Bedford, MA||Jeff Pope, president||85||2,300|
|22. EIS Inc.||$762 million||Atlanta, GA||Bob Thomas||60||1,200|
|23. United Distribution
|Not disclosed||Bristol, CT||Darrell Cole||85||900+|
|24. Global Industrial||$699 million||Port Washington, NY||Bob Dooley, president||9||986|
|25. BDI||$687 million||Cleveland, OH||Carl James||205||1,547|
|26. Bossard||$655 million||Zug, Switzerland||David Dean||70+||2,000+|
|27. Turtle & Hughes||Not disclosed||Linden, NJ||Jayne Millard||9||850|
|28. BlackHawk Industrial||$430 million||Broken Arrow, OK||Bill Scheller||27||710|
|29. EWIE Group||$410 million||Ann Arbor, MI||Dilip Mullick||16||824|
|30. SBP Holdings||$364 million||Houston, TX||Otis Dufrene||51||1,000|
|31. FCX Performance||$330 million||Columbus, OH||Tom Cox||34||525|
|32. R.S. Hughes||$321 million||Sunnyvale, CA||Bob McCollum||50||525|
|33. AWC||$319 million||Baton Rouge, LA||Bob Wenyon||27||380|
|34. Production Tool
|$317 million||Warren, MI||Lawrence Wolfe||25||577|
|35. DGI Supply||$295 million||Wheeling, IL||Jeff Waller||46||550|
|36. Ohio Transmission
|$293 million||Columbus, OH||Philip Derrow||23||631|
|37. Wajax Industrial
|$281 million||Mississauga, ON||Mark Foote||60||774|
|38. Lawson Products||$276 million||Chicago, IL||Michael DeCata||5||1,619|
|39. Hisco||$276 million||Houston, TX||Bob Dill||36||460|
|40. Kimball Midwest||$214 million||Columbus, OH||Pat McCurdy, Jr.||4||1,300|
|41. Tencarva Machinery||$209 million||Greensboro, NC||Ed Pearce||26||360|
|42. Hydradyne||$206 million||Fort Worth, TX||David parks||32||504|
|43. Valin Corporation||$167 million||San Jose, CA||Joe Nettemeyer*||18||267|
|44. IBT Industrial
|$162 million||Merriam, KS||Michael Flannery||44||440|
|45. Shively Bros.||$159 million||Flint, MI||Scott Shively||12||306|
|46. CBT||$157 million||Cincinnati, OH||James Stahl, Jr.||2||171|
|47. Womack Machine
|$148 million||Farmers Branch, TX||Mike Rowlett||15||233|
|48. Mahar Tool Supply||$131 million||Saginaw, MI||Barbara Mahar Lincoln||3||133|
|$129 million||Orange Park, FL||Palmer Clarkson||42||472|
|50. JGB Enterprises||$123 million||Liverpool, NY||Jay G Bernhardt||5||235|
Just missing the list was Annapolis Junction, MD-based Cummins-Wagner, which would have been No. 51 with $111 million. Under the direction of president and CEO Doug Ardinger, Cummins-Wagner has nine locations and 220 employees.
All Big 50 companies are ranked according to 2015 total worldwide sales, and all figures are reported in USD (in some cases converted based on the estimated exchange rate). We obtain information for publicly-traded companies based on annual reports, earning statements and company verifications. For the privately-held companies, we rely on self-reported data and follow-up interviews. Recently published press releases and company website information is also used to supplement data for this report. The Big 50 interviews were conducted via email, survey and phone by Industrial Distribution editorial staff.
The locations and employee headcount figures are as of Aug. 15, 2016.
We elect to refrain from listing any companies we are unable to obtain confirmed revenue numbers for, therefore there are a small number of companies we estimate would have earned a place on the list that were omitted.
For those of you who don’t see your company names (but think you should): Please contact us with your information and we’ll add you to our pool for next year. As always, your feedback is appreciated.
Please feel free to reach out to ID’s editor, Mike Hockett, with comments or questions: firstname.lastname@example.org