Two Readers Respond To Joan Adams' Lesson From McDonald's

I always read Joan Adams’ articles in Supply House Times - she has great insight as to how to run a successful distribution business. The “Lesson From McDonald’s” article(July 2009Supply House Times, page 18) was a very clear and concise article that says it all concerning our business. I have been in the steel business for 30 years and have figured out that most buyers are simple creatures. Our company sells steel products to a wide variety of customers in the bistate area of Missouri and Illinois. I constantly repeat to our employees that our customers act like they are going through the McDonald’s drive-thru! We had better give them what they want immediately or else they will find another place to “get fed.” Most of our customers want a quote live (no faxed or e-mailed quotes). They then want same-day pick-up or next-day delivery 99% of the time. My analysis is that most customers want to clear a particular steel purchase off their desk in order to get to the next task. The faster they can accomplish this, the better. THEY DO NOT LIKE SURPRISES - just like Joan Adams so succinctly states in her column. I plan to quote from her article at an upcoming Tuesday morning sales meeting. Keep up the good work!

Steve Schrader
Sales manager
Cardinal Steel Supply
St. Louis, MO



Just read Joan Adams’ article about McDonald’s and consistency in Supply House Times. How true. As a long-time manufacturers rep, it amazes me that the rules of success are so simple but some people cannot follow them.  It is especially unnerving to watch the bigger companies purchase very successful distributors and change the way they do business, from credit to inventory to private label products to even the way someone picks up the telephone and greets the plumber. Then when the customers go elsewhere, they seem bewildered. 

Distribution of material is very interesting these days, especially the way the evolution is hitting our industry - from the Internet to the national chains to the big boxes - when we have primarily been a mom and pop and a little bigger (maybe) distribution system. We’re seeing lots of changes in autos, electronics, dry goods, entertainment and just about anything. But Joan Adams is so right: The secret of success is about the ability to deliver consistently a service that is priced fair and timely and that can be depended upon to be the same always. 

Very good points in her article!

Name withheld by request