November 20, 2019
“Friends in the rep business are very important. I mean, from acquiring lines to sharing best practices, it's not just one guy and in one territory. There's a bunch of people that know each other and work together.” ~Dave Wright
This episode is 30 years in the making. That’s how long I’ve known Dave Wright, president of WG Wright & Associates. In that time, the company has transformed from a manufacturer’s rep to a wholesale distributor and private label. Having covered the business from so many angles over the decades, you can bet this show ticks a bunch of boxes--past, present, and future.
“We started as a manufacturer’s rep, solely working out of my dad’s garage.” It’s a common origin story: a garage, a guy, and a desire to build something good. But, unlike so many failed or consolidated shops, WG Wright has defied the odds, adding new chapters by differentiating itself from the competition, then diversifying to outlast them.
Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.
This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.
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“It was through our processes of understanding what’s needed in the market and do what we could to fill it,” Dave says of the company’s early decision to move from manufacturer’s rep to stocking inventory. Today, the company has, in his words, a whole bunch of different things happening within their menu of services.
The cost of keeping inventory on hand is a hot topic. Customers get used to finding certain items on you shelves so when a manufacturer decides they’re no longer interested in consigned inventory, you’ve got to punt. “They came to us and said, ‘Hey...we need you to become a wholesaler. Put a program together.’ So, we did.” They followed that decision up with Mighty Tie cable tie line, their foray into manufacturing a USA-made branded product. “It’s been a fun little product line,” says Dave.
Price, performance, inside sales, taxes. We unpack a lot in this episode. One of the most interesting was high emotion, low margin sales. Take cable ties for example.. “It’s a thing you have, you know? No one cares about it…,” Dave says. “It’s a pretty easy thing to sell. It’s a good commodity item...and most importantly, it’s not emotional. If you try and sell a job box or a ladder, oh my gosh! You know how emotional those things get?”
Taxes are another emotional subject -- and getting more so, from what Dave’s witnessed. “States like Washington are coming back and taxing companies that ship into Washington. California is notorious for it.’
He’s not blinking yet. WG Wright has weathered storms since 1977. Want to know how they’ve done it? Listen in for Dave’s insight on specification work, consolidation, Millennial buyers, and more.