A Conversation with Jay Bazemore, Vice President, Jabo Supply

Jabo Supplyis a West Virginia-based distributor of pipe, valves and fittings for industrial and individual applications. For more than 45 years, Jabo has serviced West Virginia, Southwestern Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, Eastern Kentucky, Southwestern Virginia and parts of the Central and Western U.S. from three locations. The company’s success comes from living its motto every day: “Service is more than a promise.” One way they strive to achieve this high standard is through employee training.  

Jay Bazemore, Jabo’s vice president, is the driving force behind the company’s training program. The sales force and fabrication shop employees are absolutely required to complete training programs, with the remainder of the 80 employees participating on a subject-by-subject basis. Recently, Bazemore made the transition from traditional training formats to ASAU Online, ASAEF’s online initiative. The level of content available and the ease of using the system has allowed Jabo the ability to offer open enrollment to all employees for any ASAU Online course.

“It’s been amazing to see the kind of enthusiasm and interest in training from employees in positions that we had not previously considered training,” shares Bazemore. “We sometimes forget the need for product and business knowledge by all employees no matter what their position. Our employees want to understand how they contribute to our success. Offering them unlimited training through ASAU Online has made clear to us there is a strong desire by our employees to learn as much as they can and use that information to become better in their jobs. We are fortunate to have a great team that wants to grow and learn; I’m happy to have ASAEF as a resource and partner in providing this kind of training.”  

ASAU Online offers new, interactive and engaging ways to train. “The online programs are quick and easy to use, and at the same time the content is thorough and well written,” continues Bazemore. A feature especially useful for Jabo as they increase the number of employees being trained is the ability that ASAU Online has to track and assess employees’ progress in all types of training. “It takes only a few clicks of the mouse to get a printed report or go online to look at what the employees are doing on a day-to-day basis,” Bazemore adds.     

Having utilized most of the Foundation’s training content, theEssentials of Profitable Warehouse Operations©is Bazemore’s new favorite program. “I really admire all the time and dedication to detail that was put into thisEssentialsprogram,” Bazemore explains.  

“One thing that you can count on in every warehouse is having a lot of different personalities who like to do things the way they see fit. TheEssentialscourse has an entire section devoted to team building, which will help our employees assimilate into our culture of doing business. Through this, they will understand that ‘service is more than a promise’ is more than just a slogan but the only way to do business.” This summer, Jabo’s training plan will expand to include additional ASAU Online offerings such asOverview of Wholesale Distribution©, Essentials of Superb Service in Distribution©andThe Effective Communicator in Distribution©, showing a clear commitment to the service expectations the company has to meet – and exceed – the needs of their customers.   

“In today’s market, a distributor needs something that sets it apart from the competition. Price isn’t a realistic option and does nothing to establish a lasting relationship. Exceptional service helps, but not if the person providing the service doesn’t understand the most fundamental concepts of our business. Training is the key; it’s like the stone that you throw in the pond and all the ripples come out and travel as far as your eye can see – it touches every aspect of your business and only makes it better.” 

Bazemore pauses and then adds, “Consider the alternative, as put so well in one of my favorite business quotes by Zig Ziglar: ‘The only thing worse than training employees and losing them isnottraining them and keeping them!’”