Hardware Retailing

FEB 2019

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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EXECUTIVE Q&A DISTRIBUTOR PROFILE SERIES HARDWARE RETAILING 41 Hardware Retailing (HR): What in your strategy has allowed for the growth Orgill has experienced recently? Ron Beal (RB): Our strategy is pretty simple: Take care of our customers every day and execute at consistently high levels at everything we do. We continually remind ourselves that the easier we make it for our customers to do business with us, the more time they have to concentrate on their own operations. We also strive to provide our customers with choices. We focus on offering our customers options, not rules, because we have a very high regard for their ability to select and make the decisions that are right for their businesses. Given the right support and tools, most independent retailers will do what is required to be successful. That entrepreneurial mindset is a major reason why there are still so many successful independent retailers throughout our industry. HR: Do you see anything about your strategy or approach to the market changing? RB: Change is a fact of life. We want to be proactive versus reactive to the needs of our customers. We want to be disciplined in our approach and deliver continuous, incremental improvement in everything we do. The industry is always evolving, but rarely at a rate that requires dramatic, short-term, disruptive change. That being said, I don't think there is another distribution company in this industry that embraces new technology more than we do. When you look at the advancements we have made with our delivery fleet, distribution centers, e-commerce programs and the systems inside our organization, you'll quickly see how consistent we've been in making the investments and improvements that make sense for our company and our customers. HR: Has this approach always been the case for Orgill? RB: Being proactive and methodical seem to be in our corporate DNA. We embrace the idea that we want to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary, and that holds true with basically everything we do. It's certainly true when you look at the fact that our company has been around for 172 years. During that time, change has always been a constant. We welcome change and plan for it, and are rarely caught by surprise. We don't have a history of having to operate in crisis mode. HR: Orgill has seen some changes in its leadership structure. Do you consider these changes evolutionary? RB: Without a doubt. Certainly our leadership team continues to evolve. Joe Orgill (who passed away last spring) was a strong presence in the industry and within the company. Many years ago, he and his business partner, Mike McDonnell, laid the foundation for an orderly and successful transition from a family-run business to a company overseen by an experienced executive team. We see that same kind of planning and implementation going on now. The executive team that works directly with me has expanded responsibilities in 2019. Each member brings many years of unique experience to these new roles. This group, along with our other senior staff, has for many years functioned well together as a team. These changes have been planned for a long time and will make us even more effective. It is also vital that transition planning extends to all levels of management. We make sure this happens. People who come to work for Orgill tend to stay here. We have a real mix of veteran employees who provide stability and hands-on experience, along with newer members of the team who bring new ideas and energy. HR: How does Orgill focus on continuous improvement? RB: A core objective for us as a distribution company, something we know we have to do, is to always find ways to get products to our customers more efficiently and less expensively. This is one area where incremental improvement is incredibly important. Every single day, we have to focus on how we can buy better, deliver product more efficiently and help retailers grow their margins. The cumulative impact of this continued, incremental improvement in the way we operate over a period of three years, five years or 10 years can be profound—not just for Orgill, but more importantly, for our customers. Orgill Provides Its Customers With Tools for Their Success A Proactive Approach Ron Beal Chairman and CEO Beal joined Orgill in 1985 and served as a senior vice president and general manager before becoming president and CEO in 2005, and chairman in 2013. In 2019, he stepped down as president, but remains the chairman and CEO.

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