- A Closer Look At Buying Groups
- Jan/san Distributors See Advantages Of Working Together
Surprising Benefits Of Buying Group Membership
4. What is the most surprising or underrated benefit of buying group membership?
We have found the individuals we work with at Afflink to be very helpful in providing ideas and solutions to the various day-to-day issues a distributor faces. Since they are dealing with other distributors who face the same challenges as we do, their insight is very helpful. — Ryan Levasseur, co-owner, JaniSafe, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, 6-year member of Afflink
Two things: First, it is really important to build relationships with the other distributors and manufacturers in the group. We are all non-competitors, so it’s nice to have someone to talk to and share ideas with about how we can grow our companies and what they see in the industry.
Second, my group has quarterly vendor promotions that each run for periods of two months. Some of these deals are really good, and it helps me save money with all of the orders that I place. These vendor promotions are exclusive to DPA members, and they’re emailed out to everyone as well as posted on the group’s members-only website. — Jeff Tishko, owner, Colker Company, Pittsburgh, 15-year member of Distributor Partners of America
5. If someone says to you that all buying groups are the same, what would be your response?
There is a huge difference in buying groups today, but that does not mean that they all don’t serve a benefit and positive purpose to their membership. However, Triple S really surprised its membership, and I think the whole industry, when it announced at last year’s ISSA convention that it had formed another corporation named Triple S Holdings. The intent of Triple S Holdings is to keep our membership strong and establish company-owned branches in open or transitional markets by purchasing either our own member companies or non-members companies. This is especially important to our members that are thinking of retiring and do not have a clear exit strategy. Triple S Holdings will also assist members that wish to expand their business through acquisitions. — Michael Chiappe, president, California Janitorial Supply Corp., San Jose, California, 23-year member of Triple S
We have reviewed a few other buying groups, and, while they are all similar, there are enough differences to distinguish them from one another. The manufacturers a buying group works with for us is the most important factor to consider. Numerous manufacturers that we were already working with were members of Afflink, so that was an important factor in our decision. Rebates are important, as well, as are the various training programs and manufacturer/distributor group meetings. — Ryan Levasseur, co-owner, JaniSafe, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, 6-year member of Afflink
Couldn’t be further from the truth. Take a look at member support, program offerings, regional distribution centers, marketing support, counseling, networking and willingness to share ideas among members. — Ailene Grego, president and CEO, SouthEast Link, Atlanta, 30-plus-year member of Pro-Link
I would tell them that’s not true. Not all groups are in the same industries or have the same partner suppliers. There are also differences in membership fees and cost structure and the amount of overhead that each group has to contend with.
I also like it that I am in a group that is progressive by giving me access to safety, industrial and packaging supplies in addition to jan/san. I think we are going to see a lot more of that, and I believe in some respect that is where we are headed as an industry. — Jeff Tishko, owner, Colker Company, Pittsburgh, 15-year member of Distributor Partners of America
Jan/san Distributors See Advantages Of Working Together
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