The Winner's Circle
Six distributors share the secrets and strategies that put them on top.
What makes the same distributor retain the No. 1 spot on the BFL&S Top 100 Distributors list for four consecutive years? According to Rick Wesley, president of Workflow (formerly SFI), a Norfolk, Virginia-based distributor, the formula for success lies in managing customer supply chains effectively.
"Our strategy for the past three years has been to do an analysis of potential customers' supply chain needs, propose a better solution than what they have, and then begin managing their products on the iGetSmart e-commerce platform," said Wesley.
The iGetSmart system is the company's proprietary e-commerce platform that allows over 20 distribution centers throughout the country to be connected in real time. Wesley said that accounts operating on this system make up 36 percent of the company's reported $294 million in sales for the latest fiscal year.
In March, the company experienced a "regime change" with the departure of the founding D'Agostino family. As a result, Wesley said that it was necessary for the company's name to better reflect its services. "SFI served us well for over 75 years, but it became too iconoclastic," he said. "We are restructuring and changing the company's culture. We are becoming smarter and have discovered that the unique features of iGetSmart need to become known throughout the American business world."
By way of new technology, Wesley praised the evolution of the seven-year iGetSmart system. "We have added a number of print-on-demand features, electronic forms solutions and promotional products features to the system this year," he said. "Our success continues to be directly attributable to having this unique electronic platform."
In the future, Wesley expects to reestablish the company's acquisitions program and increase its already aggressive hiring program. "Our destiny is to grow, but now with a keener eye toward profitable and strategic growth."