Distributors Stay Strong Despite a Weak Economy
By Maggie DeWitt
#4 Global DocuGraphix, Chicago
Graham McClean, president and CEO of Global DocuGraphix, Chicago, doesn't take customer service lightly. "You've got to kiss your customers until your lips bleed," he said. "Never, ever let yourself be out-serviced."
McClean believes that adopting this code of behavior can help distributors win at least half of the battle; the rest hinges on developing a sound growth- and profit-oriented strategic plan.
His own plan is rooted in profitable growth, sharing resources, volume pricing and acquiring aggressive, profit-oriented companies whose values match those of Global DocuGraphix's—principally, awareness and sensitivity to customer needs, respect for the individual and an interest in offering new products and services. McClean knows that he is on the right track because the company continues to grow, and this year ranked fourth among BFL&S' Top 100 Distributors. "People feel good about our name and what we bring to market," he said.
Growth Through Acquisition
The key to a successful acquisition is to ensure that it will be a positive experience for everyone. Global DocuGraphix provides collateral materials, conducts a thorough presentation for the company and sends letters to every one of its customers assuring them of consistency in the service they have come to trust and rely upon. "Customers want to make sure that knowledge of their account and their needs isn't lost and that's the reason we retain the founders and leaders," said McClean.
By and large, acquired companies' sales forces are already experienced in form, label and commercial print sales, so education and training efforts emphasize the new programs and products, such as digital imaging, pressure-seal, print-to-mail and office products over the Internet. "Our marketing staff puts together an office-by-office roll out," explained McClean, "and we hold an annual national sales meeting that includes a tabletop show by 70 to 85 of our preferred vendor partners."