April of 2013, and features a lot of customization, including boltons for logistics like truck routing, freight, and billing. This has done
wonders to improve operational efficiency in the distribution centers, some of which are now able to employ paperless technology.
From a customer side, the technology question is a bit more
complex. Turtle & Hughes is not the kind of company where a
high SKU ecommerce site serves as an exact fit. “In so many of our
normal discretionary business transactions, there’s always a little bit
of engineering that goes on in a phone conversation,” says Roessle.
“It’s rarely a case where the customer has ten part numbers and the
quantities; it’s always some twist or turn that happens in the dis-
cussion that doesn’t happen naturally in an electronic transaction.”
That said, Turtle & Hughes ecommerce strategy is like everything
else they do — custom. “We’ll amplify our existing brand, and do it
on a platform that’s going to enable transactional capabilities.”
Other challenges for Turtle & Hughes echo throughout the
industry as well — namely the terms and conditions question. Ac-
cording to Reffler, terms and conditions are becoming so sophisti-
cated that some customers are predicting interest rates out nearly
18 months. The result is they’re trying to negotiate extended
payment terms, leaving the distributor wondering whether they
should be acting more like a bank in those situations. “Those are
the challenges that are always there, but the dials are turning a
bit to ramp them up,” adds Roessle.
Turtle & Hughes most recent acquisition, Mid-Island Electric
Supply, was announced in June. Mid-Island is a full service
distributor of electrical products serving the Automation,
Construction, Industrial, OEM, Commercial, Institutional, and
Municipal markets in New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley.
Mid-Island continues to operate as a branch of Turtle &
Hughes, under the Mid-Island name. Billy Wresch, former
President of Mid-Island Electrical Supply, manages the branch as
Vice President, Mid-Island Electrical Supply. “This is one of those
deals that makes a lot of sense. When you bring together two
similar cultures, exceptional people, and fiercely competitive
managers, only good things can happen. Our best years are
ahead of us,” said Wresch at the time of the acquisition.
Challenges aside, Turtle & Hughes spends most of its time
focusing on the basics — keeping the customer needs in mind.
“We recognize that as a distributor who is an integrator, service
is key to survival,” says Millard. Partnerships address the service
requirements that Turtle & Hughes can’t fulfill in-house, and a
highly trained inside sales staff can help point out gaps in a bill of
materials — all with the intention to ultimately reduce customer
costs. Says DeVoney, “Bottom line, they’re interested in our business because it works.” ID
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