Asizable portion of best-practice articles, presentations and webinars in the industrial supply sector focus on digitization, or — more
specifically — how to get your company on a digital
level that matches customers’ changing demands and
It’s a challenge many industrial distributors and
suppliers have struggled with for years, and those
succeeding are reaping the benefits.
One of those greatly benefitting from their digital
efforts is Kansas City, MO-based Midland Metal MFG.,
a supplier of fittings, valves and accessories for hose,
pipe and tubing and one of the first such industrial
companies to fully immerse itself in the online side of
Midland has been offering e-commerce to its
distributors since 2003, making it a key part of its culture
today and providing customers easy ways to provide the
feedback the company bases all its business decisions on.
“We’ve been doing it for a long time and we’ve
been trying to stay ahead,” says Midland national sales
manager Brett Powell.
It’s all part of Midland’s goal to be the easiest supplier
for distributors to do business with and motto of “too
convenient NOT to buy from.”
Midland At A Glance
Midland’s roots date back all the way to 1919 when it
manufactured airplane parts and roof flashings, among
other things. But its modern story begins in 1980 when
Bill Hodes bought the company and transformed it
into a brass fitting master distributor as a spinoff of his
plumbing wholesale business. It had $60,000 in sales
that first year. Bill’s son Nick took over the company
in 1985 and grew sales to $14 million by 1999. During
that time, Midland expanded its product line to include
lead-free brass, bronze, stainless steel and malleable iron
cast fittings and nipples, valves, hose clamps, hydraulic,
pneumatic and hose accessories.
Midland — which has a headcount of 50 employees
— contracts out most of its manufacturing to small and
large machine shops in the U.S. and overseas. Along
with Kansas City, it has stocking locations in Kerman, CA;
Houston, TX; and Atlanta, GA.
Midland Metal MFG.’s early digital adoption gives
it a leg up on the industrial supply market.
By Mike Hockett