18 INDUSTRIAL DISTRIBUTION / May/June 2014 www.inddist.com
Tacoma Screw Products, Inc., regional distributor of fasteners and industrial supplies, focuses on e-commerce as a way to expand to new areas and improve customer service.
The Nuts & Bolts of
BY ANNA WELLS
Since 1946, Tacoma Screw Products, Inc. has considered itself a leader in the distribution of fasteners, tools, maintenance, shop, and industrial supplies.
This Tacoma, WA-based distributor has branch locations
in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, and customers in every
industry from agriculture and truck repair to discrete manufacturing and food processing. Like many small and medium
sized businesses in this space, opportunities for growth can be
cumbersome or resource-prohibitive, yet Tacoma Screw has
been able to create opportunities for reaching new customers
and adding a layer of enhanced service to its existing base.
The Journey to Online Excellence
So how does a nearly 70-year-old regional distributor create a
path for growth? Online, of course. From wire frame to what
it is today, the implementation of a Tacoma Screw state-of-
the-art e-commerce site took roughly 20 months. But accord-
ing to Eric McGregor, E-commerce and Operations Support
Manager, and Gary Myers, IT Manager, this is one of those jobs
that’s never really done.
It started with a vision. After working in sales for many
years, McGregor understood the pain of having to explain
to a customer that while Tacoma Screw did have a website,
it wasn’t much more than a static catalog, and it wasn’t very
easy to use. “I kept telling myself — we’re missing the boat,”
explains McGregor. As more customers started to ask for it,
Tacoma made a decision to embark on an e-commerce site —
and invested in hiring Myers to help execute the project.
Tacoma Screw partnered with NetSuite to implement the
company’s SuiteCommerce platform. But because Tacoma uses
Epicor for its ERP, there was a lot of integration that needed
to happen in order to maintain business continuity in areas
like order insertion and invoicing. Additionally, Tacoma still
worked with its existing catalog company to help manage
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