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Cat herding skills required

by Rich Vurva

Rich Vurva

A little bit like herding cats. That's how Matt Cohen, president of Replenex in Eden Prairie, Minn., described his efforts to help me pull together all of the people I planned to interview and photograph for this issue's cover story.

We were attempting to coordinate my trip to Minnesota so I could learn more about the work that Replenex and 3M did for their joint customer, New Flyer Industries (NFI), to earn the American Eagle Value-Added Partner Award from the Industrial Supply Association. Picking a date, time and location when the appropriate people from all three companies, plus a photographer and yours truly, could meet prior to my press deadline proved to be a monumental task.

But our little scheduling nightmare was nothing compared to the enormity of the problem that Replenex and 3M faced to solve NFI's dilemma. The goal seemed simple enough: to standardize product and pricing activities in three NFI facilities in the U.S. and Canada. Achieving the goal was anything but simple. You can read about how the companies reached their goal by clicking here.

The story explains how two industrial supply channel partners from the Twin Cities earned national recognition for their efforts to solve a customer's problem. While the specific details may differ, it describes the types of activities taking place every day by industrial distribution companies.

Your company likely has similar tales to tell about the extraordinary things you've done to satisfy your customers' needs. While your efforts may not always earn you a national award, they do earn you the respect – and continued business – from your customers. In the end, that's even more valuable than a trophy.

But you've got to admit, it would be pretty cool to have an American Eagle trophy on display in your office. If you keep herding cats, and doing all of the other things you do every day to make customers happy, maybe you'll add an award or two to your trophy case next year.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2010 issue of Industrial Supply magazine. Copyright 2010, Direct Business Media.


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