16 INDUSTRIAL DISTRIBUTION / May/June 2014 www.inddist.com
The Competitive Advantage You
Didn’t Know You Had
BY REID JAJKO
In today’s market, end users expect heir distributors to deliver real, measurable value. Large national
accounts typically require distributors
to commit to specific cost savings as a
condition of winning their business —
something that is not always easy for
distributors to achieve.
Most distributors have a large num-
ber of national accounts but may not
have the requisite in-house expertise to achieve these cost savings
commitments. This is where they can derive significant business
value from manufacturers.
Manufacturers continually invest in industry and process-specific
expertise. We can support distributors with experts who not only
offer solutions to production problems, but proactively identify
problem areas the end user may not have considered. By utilizing
manufacturers’ specialized resources, distributors have the opportunity to not only meet, but exceed their cost savings commitments, demonstrating exceptional value to the end user.
When distributors provide unexpected savings, it strengthens
customer relationships and helps embed the distributor in their
customers’ operations. In addition, distributors learn from the man-ufacturer-provided solutions, enabling them to more easily identify
and solve problems for their customers. This creates ongoing value.
In short, by drawing on the available support from manufacturers,
distributors can build their own credibility — and their business.
NSK’s unique Asset Improvement Program (AIP) is designed to
support distributors and end users in generating significant cost
savings by improving production efficiency. The resources we
bring to the table are based on industry experience, including the
identification of problems and the successful implementation of
solutions that many end-user customers experience. These solutions often both improve productivity and reduce consumption;
this combination can result in cost savings that are over and above
those expected. For example, the solution to a problem may not
be to replace a bearing; in many instances bearings can be reused.
In others, a replacement may not be necessary because the bear-
ing is a candidate for reconditioning (a service we deliver in under
Some distributors may not be aware of NSK’s AIP, or that we have
such knowledgeable experts. Others are aware, but may undervalue
the resource and the opportunity it presents to help end users improve
performance, and in turn drive more business opportunities for the
The challenge for NSK is to help distributors understand when
and where to leverage AIP to help them build business. As a place
to start, we ask them to identify national or corporate accounts
where they are struggling to achieve cost savings. Then, our field
engineers perform a comprehensive analysis at the customer’s site.
Once this is completed, we recommend a course of action that will
generate measurable results. These could include productivity gains,
component cost reduction, and reduced maintenance intervals.
The key is to identify the root cause of the problem, both in
terms of the industry and the specific process. Without the necessary specialized expertise, often only the symptom is addressed,
so the problem continues to occur in other contexts. NSK provides
distributors with highly skilled technical personnel and we solve
problems together. This powerful partnership enables distributors
to protect their customer relationships while at the same time reducing price sensitivity through real value creation. It also creates
a significant barrier for competitors who may attempt to establish
a relationship with the same customer.
The bottom line is that cost saving is a key strategy in 2014. Distributors can only successfully differentiate by providing solutions
with integrity, where cost savings is not only measured, but meets
or exceeds contracted targets. Working with a manufacturer such
as NSK enables distributors to do that.
Reid Jajko is the General Manager of the Aftermarket Business
Unit at NSK Corporation. For more information on how to engage
NSK to help your customers improve performance and reduce
costs, visit www.nskamericas.com, or contact Heather Strack at
The key is to identify the root cause of the
problem, both in terms of the industry and the