Distributors Stay Strong Despite a Weak Economy
Shaky times did not disturb these top distributors.
Lead by CEO Tom D'Agostino, Jr. and President Rick Wesley, Norfolk, Virginia-based SFI has captured the coveted No. 1 spot in BFL&S' Top 100 Distributors ranking for the third year in a row. Proactive thinking and hands-on involvement by SFI management has been at the heart of its success, for as D'Agostino observed, "When the decisions are made by an organizations' bankers or people in ivory towers it loses it competitiveness and esprit de corps."
And the rate of obsolescence of printing needs has inspired SFI to move its market share forward to provide supply chain solutions to fortune 2000 companies.
According to Wesley, SFI's growth is directly related to the igetsmart e-commerce platform, which not only connects the distribution centers in real time, but facilitates the coalescing of the sales force's expertise. "We completely marry together our acquisitions so our people on the West Coast can partner with those on the East Coast," explained Wesley. "This is so characteristic of SFI, and with more than 23,000 customers in North America, so necessary."
This is particularly true when serving larger accounts. In a move that D'Agostino said "emulates what the majors have done to corral accounts in the larger sandbox," SFI is capitalizing on a team-selling approach to court the Fortune 2000 companies.
As Wesley pointed out, "A large account with a big budget isn't going to be comfortable trusting that expenditure to one person." Typically, two or three representatives function as a team of experts specializing in the larger customers diverse needs, which increasingly revolve around outsourcing and the management and distribution of the customer's core inventory. As a result, SFI is as likely to be process managing the warehousing and distribution of furniture, light bulbs, juices and video game components, as it is commercial printing and promotional products. "It's a whole other bite of the apple for us," said D'Agostino.