Building a Future for Distributors and Dealers of Building Products
Volume 44, Issue 8 October 2005
WHAT'S OLD IS NEW AGAIN
Company Makes Changes to Better Service Customers
by Samantha Carpenter
Wholesale distributor Brockway-Smith Co., also known as BROSCO, is a company old in name but not in spirit.
Through its headquarters and a distribution center in Andover, Mass., as well as distribution centers in Coxsackie, N.Y., Hatfield, Mass., and Portland, Maine, the company, which has 825-plus employees, services all of New England and the Eastern part of New York, and in April of this year, BROSCO Millwork Products extended its territory to include New Jersey, Long Island and the New York City Boroughs.
“Separate and Stronger”
Over the years, BROSCO has made improvements to its company structure and technology to help better service its customers.
In 2001, Brockway-Smith Co. and Andersen Corp. entered into an aligned distribution agreement. This agreement positioned BROSCO as the sole distributor of Andersen Products in New England and Eastern New York State. However, the Andersen and BROSCO relationship is not new; it dates back to the 1920’s—one of the longest business relationships in the millwork industry. To ensure BROSCO’s ability to manage and grow Andersen product market share, a 100,000-square-foot addition was completed at the company’s Hatfield facility in 2001.
In 2004, BROSCO reorganized the sales, marketing and purchasing functions of the business into two divisions. This project, referred to as “Separate and Stronger,” aligned the divisions along the two major product groups—Andersen Products and BROSCO Millwork Products. The company now had two separate divisions that shared warehousing and logistics and delivered a more focused and effective business model for its customers.
“BROSCO is very fortunate to be associated with many of the best brands in millwork,” said Greg Libby, BROSCO’s systems quality control manager.
Out of its BROSCO Millwork Products group, the company distributes windows, doors, trim, garage transoms, architectural and commercial products, stair parts, folding stairs, specialty millwork, fireplace mantles, moulding, jambs sills and more. The Andersen Product group distributes angle-bay windows, casement windows, double-hung windows, optional accessories, patio doors, picture windows as well as transoms.
Over the years, BROSCO has worked to develop product packaging that allows its products to be delivered to its dealers and to their customers in top-quality condition.
“The bracing, cardboard sleeves and other protective measures are continuously being refined to improve customer service and product quality,” Libby said.
The company uses its own fleet of trucks to deliver its products.
The Big Bang: 03/03/03
Dividing its product lines into two different groups isn’t the only way BROSCO has improved its business recently. In 2003, the company implemented the DMSi ERP system with Majure Data’s WMS system.
Libby says the WMS system has allowed the company to be much more efficient in the picking, staging and delivery of its products.
“The use of wireless terminals and barcode scanning has improved accuracy and has helped BROSCO maximize our delivery fleet,” he said.
The company went from a legacy ERP system to the new system—all four Branch locations at once—on 03/03/03.
“We referred to it as the ‘Big Bang,’” Libby said. “We knew it was going to be tough, and we have to give credit to our customers and vendors. They stuck with us; customers stuck with us, but respectively, they said, ‘we’ve been through this, we know what you are going through.’”
Libby says that the company couldn’t be doing the things it’s doing today without Majure Data’s WMS.
“Using a WMS has significantly improved the accuracy of our inventory. That alone has improved our organization’s effectiveness,” Libby said. “We make better purchasing decisions, it’s increased our ability to confidently tell customers that we can fulfill their orders and it has increased our overall efficiency in the warehouse.”
Libby says the implementation of the new system has had a significant impact to the company’s business.
“Just about every member of Team BROSCO experienced a change in his or her daily responsibilities,” Libby said. “In the course of ‘moving the cheese’ on everyone, the culture of BROSCO is moving as well. WMS has moved BROSCO into a ‘real time’ environment where personal, professional and business discipline is critical to the success of the WMS system.”
The company saves a lot of time with the new system, too. No longer do employees spend time performing stock checks in the warehouse—if the system says the company has a product in stock, the salespeople trust that the customer will get his requested product on-time.
A Sense of Belonging
Another way BROSCO helps its customers is being involved in millwork associations and learning from other companies in the business.
The company belongs to all the local association chapters—millwork and homebuilders.
“We belong to all the state lumber associations. We try to be supportive of our industry by being part of all the associations that are connected—the Association of Millwork Distributors, National Association of Home Builders and National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors,” Libby said.
“We know that we have to earn our business one order at a time,” Libby said. “We strive everyday to out perform our customers’ expectations. Our customers count on BROSCO to be a reliable business partner. Going the extra mile is part of our culture of customer service at
Samantha Carpenter is editor of SHELTER magazine.
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