Delivering more than just valves

The role of the stockholding distributor has changed significantly over the past three decades and has transformed from being a ‘buffer’ to compensate for manufacturers long lead times in the 1970’s, to a dynamic provider of supply chain and other added values services today.

The changes seen in the industry have been driven by a combination of customer requirements such as their desire to reduce costs, increase efficiency and focus on their core business, whilst at the
same time distribution companies have taken a fresh look at their business model. The deceptively simple description of a good valve distributor is
one who can ensure that the required products are delivered in full and on-time to wherever they are needed. Whilst for a standard product the process can be as easy as it sounds, a successful valve distribution business needs to offer much more to its customers. More and more customers are seeking suppliers that are able to integrate with their own business processes so that they can add value at every stage from shutdown planning and valve selection through to delivering a complete package of products and enhancing plant efficiency through the supply of sophisticated automation systems. Of course, providing an ex-stock delivery service is still fundamental and to achieve this the distributor must maintain a large stockholding of products which meet the majority of its customers’ dayto- day requirements as well as holding stocks of slower moving products. Achieving the optimal product mix is a critical decision for supply companies and whilst
modern stock control and ERPsystems are of great help, it is ultimately management that make the final stocking decision on which the success of the company can often depend. Associated with this is the stockholder’s relationship with its own suppliers and whether it has access to the leading brands and also the necessary influence and support from its principles to be able to obtain special concessions when needed. One example of a valuable concession is where the manufacturer agrees to hold stocks of the components needed for long lead time items so that should the distributor have an urgent requirement the finished product can be quickly assembled. One company that epitomises the modern distributor is Transmark Fcx who have built the largest stockholding of valves in Europe and have been very successful in securing supply agreements with major companies. Managing Director Fred McCluskey comments: "Our approach is to be a true partner with customers and to constantly look for ways in which we can enhance the service we give them. For instance, we quite often have an imprest stock arrangement so that customerscan have stocks of valves on-site but are only invoiced for the ones they actually use. Another example is that when a cus omer is planning for a major project we will significantly increase our own stock levels, over and above the expected demand, so that we can be sure that all of their requirements can be met exstock." The UK’s valve supply base is a world leading industry and whilst it continues to innovate and focus on adding value to the sectors it serves, it looks set to have a very long and successful future. Transmark Fcx, Tel 01274 700 000

Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 3

Summer 2020 // Issue 53
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