The heart to make you profitable.
Carborundum Abrasives –
than your gut – to make decisions,” says Abrahamson.
One big win relates to a value added service Lawson offers
around special order procurement. “If there is something that is
not in any of our warehouses, we can go and source that item
for a customer on a special order basis,” Abrahamson says. “We
focused particularly in the quotation area of the process and were
able to reduce the cycle time – how long it takes us to respond to
the customer – by more than 50 percent. Concurrently, we now
process upwards of seven percent more quotations every day.”
Lawson employees have been excited about the cross-functional
collaboration, and better quality processes have meant less rework.
An additional soft benefit of the continuous improvement initiatives is that the Lawson salespeople can provide some insights
around Lean and 5S in their customer’s sites — which is just icing
on the value-add cake.
Lawson Products’ company motto is “We Aspire to be Our Customers’ First Choice” — and it’s clear the business functions in a way
that preserves this. It seems, at this point, that nothing is stopping
Lawson from adding more customers to its existing base.
The company is in a position, says Knutson, where it is flexible
as to where it might spend its dollars in the future. “We operate
close to a 60 percent gross margin, which is very high relative to
the industry,” he explains. “So we get tremendous leverage if we
can grow sales budgets.”
Since the organic growth piece is well underway, does this mean
strategic acquisitions could be in the pipeline? DeCata says yes,
but it must be via “DNA-match” companies. These would be “busi-
nesses like us, only smaller. We’re not looking for adjacent product
lines, or geography beyond the U.S. or Canada. We think that can
be a great partnership. Because of the infrastructure we’ve built,
we can help extend someone’s value proposition by joining us.”
Because value, after all, is at the heart of everything for Lawson
Products. It’s evident that the company executive team has a lot
to be proud of in this area, and they’re more than equipped to
make the case to their customers and potential customers. “It’s
really easy for us to sit down and draw a clear and objective met-
ric-based cost/savings model,” says Jacobson. “Our value proposi-
tion is easy to defend.”