Anyseals Goes to Any Lengths

How the wholesaler's competitive edge seals the deal with customers.

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In the industrial seal business, there appears to be less and less room for distributors who embody “business as usual.” That’s because global pressures around cost mean that the average seal supplier must harness operational innovation and service to get noticed and win in this ever-changing competitive environment.

For anyseals, a full-line wholesale sealing supplier headquartered in Belgium with its U.S. branch office in Brecksville, Ohio, there’s all of that and more. The 23-year-old private company was acquired by Angst+Pfister in 2019, which brought with it a massive competitive advantage through its robust, global manufacturing footprint.

As the trading arm, the relationship brought anyseals a global footprint, but with unique benefits for U.S. customers: a wholesaler with a supply chain advantage as well as a product line one, enabling buyers to purchase both standard and custom products from one supplier.

anyseals offers an extensive inventory including o-rings, oil and grease seals, PTFE seals and rings, hydraulic seals, pneumatic seals, custom molded rubber products, wipers, circlips and guiding elements. And while global pressures and trends toward regional distribution company selloffs have changed the market in recent years, anyseals sees its value proposition as a significant growth driver.

A Changing Market

As 2anyseals CEO Scott Rassett has spent decades in the rubber sealing industry and has seen private equity take many hyper-regional distributors out of the mix. In turn, markets changed from regional to national, and now face threats from global competition, as well.

Still, in an age when value must be defined, there’s a lot to be said for the basics: anyseals offers next-day shipping and net 30 on shipments that actually arrive when they say they will. Not to mention, price benefits are leveraged by a deep manufacturing network, but without the quality sacrifice that often comes with Asia-sourced product. Of course, to compete with global suppliers, you really have to have it all. 

How to Do it All, and Do it Well

Rassett will be the first to tell you that, for anyseals, being a “one-stop shop” has a very specific definition. anyseals has the distinct advantage of offering standard, off-the-shelf products (including 65,000 o-ring varieties) and custom products along with it — taking complexity out of the mix for buyers who might otherwise use distinct vendors for each.

Vendor consolidation became a bit of a scary prospect during the pandemic, but Rassett wants customers to know that the anyseals value proposition supports a low-risk, cost-effective model. And in facilitating that consolidation for customers, anyseals will make it worth your while. According to the wholesaler, services make it stand out. These include custom labeling, barcoding and kitting, as well as vendor-managed inventory. Furthermore, quality is paramount in every product the company carries.

Rassett makes it clear, however, that anyseals has a wheelhouse: the one-stop-shop is comprehensive in products within the seals and custom rubber vertical; anyseals is firm on not deviating into ancillary product categories. Still, anyseals tries to anticipate and meet customers’ complementary needs. Explained Rassett, “We’re not going to start selling safety glasses or steel toe shoes, but we are certainly willing, as best we can, to foresee and logistically supply like products.”

Technology Investments Lead to Efficiency, Profitability

anyseals boasts technology-focused investments, and some recent ones have more than proven their worth. The company has implemented an automated warehouse system, AutoStore, which it says increases storage capacity by four times, increases performance by 10 times, and accommodates anyseals’ planned future company expansion.

This system, implemented in coordination with intralogistics company Kardex, includes a 63.5’ x 120.8’ approximate grid footprint of 20,000 storage bins, accessed by 11 robots that sort and deliver bins to five ports for selecting and replenishing product.

Each port is connected to a conveyor system to deliver units to two stations for final packaging prior to shipping.

As 12In January of this year, anyseals announced the implementation of a new bulk pricing structure for its customers, a change made possible, said Rassett, by the addition of AutoStore. The company had previously wrestled with the challenges that came with selling items from open pallets, the result of a “value pricing” structure that, by its nature, encouraged low-price orders. With profitability taking a hit due to the investment in pick time for these lower-spend orders, anyseals determined that the AutoStore could help facilitate bulk pricing.

“The consolidation of our primary product into a smaller footprint allowed us to expand our horizons mentally – actually, intellectually – to say: we can now sell volume, we can accommodate volume, we don’t need to break into pallets,” explained Rassett. “You break into a pallet, it’s no longer a pallet. Now you’ve got a partial pallet, and it becomes very burdensome to keep track of what’s in there and you can’t sell it complete.”

The rollout is still recent, but Rassett said the company has already seen a mild uptick in these orders that, while lower volume, are easier to pick, reduce product loss and offer more revenue tied to each transaction.

Another way anyseals hopes to enhance its growth objectives in the most efficient way possible is through e-commerce. The company has added capabilities that allow customers to engage with anyseals through an online quotation process. Rassett calls anyseals’ E-Shop “as advanced as any” and stresses how the company strives to automate ordering functions where necessary, creating a centralized location for customer orders and a streamlined process overall. He added that the company has a goal to take its existing online sales volume – 40%, already above the industry average – and propel it to 75% in the coming years.

Using Inventory Swings to Your Advantage  

The way Rassett sees it, cash flow is the biggest challenge facing distributors in the current market. And it’s all to do with the inventory swings that resulted from the pandemic.

It’s a familiar tale: 2020 shutdowns led to businesses waiting months for critical inventory. The resulting over-buys meant “safety stock” became more ominous — current levels suggest companies will continue to struggle beneath the weight of those carrying costs in 2024.

But for anyseals, just-in-time isn’t dead. The company believes it brings a significant value proposition in enabling customers to improve cash flow by offloading carrying costs to anyseals. Said Rassett, “Our focus is on our customers’ cash flow and offering them the opportunity to buy in volume domestically at a price that should be competitive.”

‘Forward Thinking’

Ultimately, Rassett sees anyseals as a “progressive organization” that brings value to its customers, while continuing to find ways to hone that proposition. He says the business will remain “forward-thinking, taking cost out of our business, which allows us, in turn, to take cost out of our customer’s business.”

So if it seems that this wholesaler is going the extra mile, it’s because it is.

“The competition is fierce,” said Rassett, “but we will continue to go toe-to-toe with the global leaders in distribution.” 

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