The courage to stand apart with choices.
Carborundum Abrasives –
explains. “There’s no next day service. It’s there, when you need it,
before your mechanic reaches into the drawer. It’s a very high bar,
but it’s what we aspire to.”
And besides the inventory management piece, Lawson sales
reps pride themselves on their consultative selling practices.
“It’s about the application and technical expertise that they (the
customer) don’t have the time to focus their efforts on,” explains
Allen Jacobson, Senior Vice President of Sales.
Building Infrastructure for Growth
The company’s customer base is essentially reaping the rewards of
Lawson’s long-standing commitment to continuous improvement
of its business operations. More recently, DeCata and his team
have spent the last few years aggressively assembling the building
blocks for a strategy towards organic growth. Part of this founda-
tion came through investments in brick and mortar, which allowed
the business to consolidate from three smaller buildings into a
305,000 square foot office and distribution center in McCook, IL.
The warehouse floor features a pull inventory system for more
centralized stocking and new packaging equipment for weighing
and auto-bagging small MRO parts like fasteners. The whole oper-
ation was designed for scalability as Lawson looks to grow.
Secondly, the company has invested in state-of-the-art IT infra-
structure, including SAP, in order to streamline operations and
gain better transparency of its data. Says DeCata, “As a manage-
ment team, we look at the key metrics in extreme granularity.”
Ronald Knutson, Lawson’s EVP and CFO, says that the $40
million in capital investments over the past few years have been
crucial in securing the foundation of the company. “Our rela-
tionships with our suppliers are much stronger, as is our ability to
purchase product, receive it here, and send it to customers or our
DCs, and to deliver on the customers’ expectations,” he explains.
“We look at our key metrics every single day, and those include
things like order completeness, line service rates, backorders… and
we’ve seen dramatic improvements over the last 18 months. And if
we see a trend that’s moving in the wrong direction, we can react
to it very quickly.”