In for the the Long Haul
Distributors find ample opportunity in the transportation industry
By Jamie Heckelman
When Greg Marks, a senior account manager with Phoenix-based Intraform, approached the forms department of one of the country's largest publicly-traded transportation companies a year and a half ago, he encountered flat-out rejection.
"They said they would never give their forms and label business to a distributor," Marks recalled, explaining that the company, Swift Transportation, had been purchasing all of its forms and labels from a major direct. "We said, Yes you will.' And today, we have a great relationship."
In fact, Marks firmly believes that the transportation industry offers great opportunities for forms distributors. "If I were in a geographic area that had transportation companies, I'd be aggressively pursuing their business," he advised. "It's a great business opportunity, whether you are selling strictly paper-based products or systems solutions."
Intraform was able to lure Swift's forms business away from the direct when its print management contract could not accommodate the trucking company's online needs. "Swift had a good handle on what it wanted, but we had to work with them to make it happen," Marks explained. Under the new systemwhich has been up and running for a few monthsIntraform prints 95 percent of the product Swift needs.
How did they do this? Intraform set up a web-based tool specifically for Swift where the company e-mails warehouse releases to the distributor on a semi-monthly basis. (Additional requests are also accommodated.)
Swift, also headquartered in Phoenix, has approximately 65 locations across the country. These remote locations send their product requests to corporate headquarters, which in turn e-mails the entire order to Intraform. Intraform then forwards the release to its warehouses in Phoenix and Alabama. From there, the product is shipped.
"It's the same as if you were shopping online for shoes," Marks said, explaining the ease and simplicity of the system.