Great relationships are grounded in mutual respect and trust. And, that is exactly what Endorsed IDCO 1st Supplier Flexaust and IDCO member McGill Hose & Coupling have built their business partnership on.
Flexaust has been a long-term supplier to McGill, particularly through the firm’s Amesbury, MA, location. Having a local manufacturing facility near McGill’s headquarters in East Longmeadow, MA has been a significant benefit for the IDCO member because Flexaust has been able to provide on-site technical support for McGill’s outside sales force and customers over the years. Together, they have been able to solve a number of ducting problems for McGill’s customers, including hi-temperature applications, transferring abrasives and venting chemical fumes. In addition, Flexaust provides everyday products to McGill that are used in lawn care by homeowners and small and large contractors which are common in the region.
Here’s a recent example of how this strong business relationship works. An OEM located near McGill’s Woburn, MA office contacted Flexaust directly for assistance venting fumes on the equipment they build and distribute. Flexaust, in turn, passed the lead on to McGill through its Amesbury plant so McGill could provide support to the customer as it worked through its latest design. The equipment was being used in a relatively new field, so McGill needed to work closely with the OEM to understand the chemicals that were being used, as well as the space constraints. This project was a success for everyone involved, and the turnaround from the first contact to drawing approval and initial order was approximately three months.
The strength of this partnership is also evident in a much older example. Many years ago, McGill was working with an OEM that needed a longer length hose that exceeded Flexaust’s standard. The customer also needed this particular item to have a custom color combination. In order to move forward with this project, Flexaust would need to produce this item in bulk, and McGill’s customer would need to have an annual usage that made the custom order viable for everyone involved. McGill worked with Flexaust on the minimum run requirement, and the customer to make sure there would be approximately three months of inventory on hand in McGill’s warehouse at all times. Now that this business is mature, the customer forecasts usage more accurately, McGill maintains inventory levels, and Flexaust manufactures this custom product as needed with a minimum run requirement that works for all parties.
Today, as a stocking distributor of Flexaust products, McGill faces increased competition from various e-commerce channels with customers looking for ducting products. And while this predicament poses many challenges, it also presents many opportunities.
“With so many choices available to consumers, selecting the correct product for their application may not be as easy as they originally believed, and purchasing online may not offer them the technical assistance they require. They may also find that these online retailers offer off-the-shelf lengths only, as they are not actually stocking this material to cut to length,” said Peter Krasny, Inside Sales and Operations Manager for McGill Hose. “However, we continue to have success with Flexaust’s extensive product line by offering value added services to the customer, working through STAMPED with them, customizing solutions and offering additional, often overlooked, products such as bridge clamps. We have been fortunate to build relationships with many customers whose original inquiry started with, ‘I purchased something online and it’s not working the way we thought it would.’”
Having a strong relationship with Flexaust comes naturally to Peter and his team at McGill. His grandfather was a Flexaust distributor back in the 1960s, and though his family’s industrial business closed in 1989, they were able to retain some of their old customers when they started their new family business in 1990 and continue to supply Flexaust products. “I am very comfortable partnering with Flexaust here at McGill Hose to answer our customer needs and grow our respective businesses. And, it doesn’t hurt that they are like family to me – literally.”