Dunfee said the company weathered the 2008-2009
recession better than most in the industry, taking only a
12 percent sales dip. WELD was able to avoid any layoffs
in that period while continuing to add new accounts.
“We made up for that hard landing with grabbing
market share,” Dunfee says. Even during the economic
downturn, WELD stayed aggressive and underwent the
aforementioned 2009 expansion.
More recently, as low oil prices have significantly negatively impacted large industrial distributors’ bottom lines,
it’s had a lesser effect on independent welding distributors. Dunfee says there’s been some impact because of
peripheral customers who sell to oil and gas, but WELD is
still projecting solid year-over-year growth for 2015.
Another challenge that goes with expansion is logistics.
WELD has increased its logistical efficiencies as of late, an
effort headed by the addition of full-timer Kevin Taylor.
Musa says Taylor has made extensive headway on reducing WELD’s carrying costs and analyzing customer usage.
The company has reduced inventory of certain products
so that instead of stocking 10 items for three months, it
carries a couple weeks’ worth of supply and continuously
turns it over. The new Waukesha facility enables WELD
to stock product there and allows customers to swap
Find the Right People
While essentially quadrupling in size from 2002 to now,
going from 18 full-time employees in 2002 to WELD’s current count of 62 required a lot of smart hiring decisions.
It’s something Dunfee and WELD’s management have
excelled with, but note that it is a continued challenge.
“We seem to be behind the 8-ball on adding employees
on a timely basis,” Dunfee says. “It’s hard to get good, experienced people in this business that meet our standard.
We’ve got to work really hard to find good people and
grow young talent. Most of our top sales guys are around
my age, in their early 50s. They’ve been around forever
and know the business very well. It’s our job to have a
vision to put younger people into this business. That’s job
No. 1 for us, and it’s continuous.”
November/December 2015 / INDUSTRIAL DISTRIBUTION 17
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