Squeezing costs from the distribution channel was not much of a topic of conversation in Mark Twain's day. That's why he had to refer to the weather when he came up with his famous line.
Today, however, everybody's talking about taking costs out of distribution but not many companies are doing anything about it. Torrington Supply is an exception.
Torrington has dared to go where no PHCP distributor has gone before to use technology to reduce costs and increase profits. Just as significantly, Torrington has utilized the computer to enhance service to customers.
Those are among the reasons why we have named Torrington our 1999 Wholesaler of the Year. Far from being the largest wholesaler in our industry, Torrington is a worthy example for other PHCP distributors to follow nonetheless because of its clear-eyed vision of the future.
Make no mistake. Torrington has not embraced technology for its own sake, or because it's the chic and trendy thing to do. The people at Torrington Supply have harnessed the computer and made it work for them.
In fact, if an available technology doesn't add to the bottom line, Torrington doesn't see the value in it. The wholesaler has discovered that e-commerce - at least at this stage in its development - has its drawbacks. Torrington has a Web site and does EDI with a limited number of customers and vendors, but most of its attention is trained elsewhere.
Led by CEO Joel Becker, Torrington's management team is more focused on using technology to streamline the company's operations and track its costs of doing business. The wholesaler's paperless warehouse is no concept car. It's a fully functioning facility that reduces the wholesaler's operating costs, improves its profits and actually gets orders to customers faster.
Torrington Supply also demonstrates that wholesalers don't need a degree in physics to embrace this new technology. Being a good industry citizen, Torrington has welcomed other wholesalers into its facility to learn about the benefits of being paperless. Executives from other companies would be well advised to take advantage of the opportunity.
When we name a Wholesaler of the Year, we pick a company that has a message for the rest of the industry. As we see it, Torrington Supply's chief message is this: PHCP wholesalers should not wait to utilize the technology that is available to them to bring more order to their operations and more profit to their bottom line.
The last Wholesaler of the Year of this millennium is blazing a trail for PHCP distributors to follow into the new one.