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Why BSC Distribution?

November 19, 2014

Why BSC Independent Distribution vs. Going Direct?

The Benefits of an Independent Distributor

As an independent distributor, Baldwin Supply stocks the parts and components to keep regional manufacturing running. In short, if you’re a manufacturer in the Upper Midwest, Baldwin provides the products and solutions you need so that you can focus on what you do best.

Baldwin has been selling quality parts and equipment through a distribution model for nearly a century, and as an independent company, it’s built its reputation on developing strong, long-lasting partnerships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and other industrial businesses.

Customized Solutions

One of the advantages of Baldwin Supply as a distributor is that it offers a full menu of different manufacturers’ products. In-house sales specialists can talk to customers about their individual needs, or even go out and do a survey of facilities to help determine which products are needed for top performance, day in and day out. The sales team knows how different products will help save customers the most money over the long run, and can often suggest a package of different items that work together (even if the items are made by separate factories). They can then bundle those items together on a single skid and send them out quickly, in one delivery.

For example, Baldwin Executive Vice President Jim O’Connor explains that a customer may need a gear reducer, but also the motor that goes on that reducer, a V-belt drive or a chain drive that would be on that reducer, and the bearings that would be on the equipment. Rather than trying to track down each of those parts individually directly from the factories, manufacturing customers can talk to local experts at Baldwin who know how all of the vendors’ products work together, combining the mechanical and electrical for a single “electromech” solution. Baldwin can even customize part numbers so that the supplies can be implemented seamlessly within customers’ existing operations. Having one supplier with a depth of offerings including power transmission, automation and controls, fabricated lightweight belt and rubber, and heavy belt, ‚Äčamong others, can save you valuable time and money.

Local Inventory

Baldwin Supply carries the items its customers need on hand, in a well-stocked, carefully maintained computerized inventory. Keep Fill and Kanban management systems are used to maintain consistent and reliable stocks of supplies. Factory manufacturers generally don’t have the space to store their own inventory, so they rely on Baldwin to stock products for them.

“Their money is made on manufacturing space, not inventory space,” O’Connor points out. But distributor inventory management also benefits customers, since they don’t have to invest space in storing parts either. And because Baldwin Supply can keep inventory locally, customers can get immediate access to the supplies they need. “Every manufacturer wants to see their product close to the point of sale,” notes O’Connor. “We achieve that with the ability to stock our top vendors’ products for our specific customers. Whatever their needs are, we stock.”

Making sure that mechanical equipment is running properly is always a concern for manufacturers. “We know it keeps them up at night,” O’Connor says. By maintaining a reliable and abundant supply of factory parts locally, Baldwin helps make sure that OEMs have one less thing to worry about, so they can focus their energy on their core strengths.

Years of Industry Expertise

Because OEM manufacturers are focused on creating parts and equipment, they often don’t have the resources for service and support that customers sometimes need. This is where a distributor with expert product knowledge fills a vital role, and Baldwin is unique in having a broad range of industrial and manufacturing know-how. “We have different specialist groups in here for gearing, for power transmission, for electrical, and for automation. So we have factory-trained and certified experts on staff here,” O’Connor notes. “The manufacturer might have one sales rep in a territory. Well, we have thirty of our salespeople.”

But it’s not only about knowing how the products work; it’s also about being there to provide direct help and assistance when customers need it, which adds immeasurable value to the manufacturer/distributor partnership. “Our reputation is for inside support,” Account Sales Manager Jerry Mandaville notes. “Belt specialists, automation specialists, mechanical specialists, gearing specialists, they’re all here.”

Local Delivery and Emergency Response

Another benefit of partnering with a local distributor that manages inventory is that customers can buy parts in the quantities they need at any given time. OEM Factories generally aren’t able to provide that sort of service, and generally have to ship out parts in bulk as freight. Not only is this prohibitively expensive for many customers, it also means they have to make space to store excess parts volume from the bulk shipment. Baldwin, on the other hand, can sell customers only what they need, and right when they need it.

A good distributor is focused on alleviating costs for the customers. For most manufacturers, production downtime is the most significant cost there is, because it translates directly to profit loss. Since many companies run production operations around the clock, it’s important for them to be available to get emergency parts supplied at any time.

“We position ourselves to respond when our customers have a failure and aren't carrying a spare, so we can get them back up and running the same day,” says Belting Sales Manager Mark Hiltgen. For example, he notes that Baldwin stocks more than 100 different types of belts, hoses, and sheet rubber to cover any possible breakdowns.

Baldwin Supply is prepared to respond to calls for emergency requests for parts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Long-Term Business Relationships

Baldwin Supply is committed to its mission of being its customers’ preferred business partner. Mandaville notes that customers have the freedom to buy parts and equipment from anyone, but they value Baldwin’s ability to provide customized solutions, managed inventory, specialized product knowledge, emergency assistance, and local support. Or, as Mandaville puts it: “Why do our customers choose us? The difference is service.”