ORLANDO, FLA.—With the likes of mega-retailer Amazon gobbling up what seems to be more and more retail space, contractor-focused Grainger pushes forward adhering to its core message of “a company that sells value,” which means helping the customer manage inventory, delivery, and navigate products, according to D.G. Macpherson, chairman and chief executive officer, Grainger. “If we do well, everyone does well,” says Macpherson.
Recently, Grainger held its 14th Grainger Show, which welcomed more than 12,000 attendees, mix of end users, supplier representatives and Grainger experts aimed at helping professionals keep their operations running and their people safe.
In total, the Grainger Show brought together 5,700 invite-only customers, 3,900 Grainger team members and 2,900 exhibit staff from across the United States and abroad for three days of training and networking. More than 600 suppliers exhibited 1.5 million products on the expansive 450,000 sq. ft. of trade show space.
The Grainger Show’s success is incumbent upon its customer base, who accompany their particular Grainger sales reps, culminating in thousands of end users filling the aisles of the table top show, learning more through numerous educational break-out sessions and networking with fellow clients. Customers also have the opportunity to learn more about Grainger’s offerings in safety, inventory management, e-commerce, facility services and consulting services at solution centers throughout the show floor.
The show kicked off in impressive style with more than 8,000 in attendance to listen to Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s keynote. As he retold the harrowing story of the “Miracle on the Hudson,” Sullenberger said, “With every interaction there is an opportunity … Innovation is change before you are forced to.” Dedicating his entire adult life to the pursuit of safety, he was ready when needed the most.
The buzz on the show floor was palpable and the feedback from the seminars was positive. For instance, the “Workplace Active Shooter Training & Practical Demonstration” seminar drew rave reviews. Christopher Sonne, Assistant Director, HSS EM Solutions and William “Billy” Castellano, Senior Tactical Instructor, HSS EM Solutions, discussed workplace safety and the paramount need for training and exercises for all organizations across the United States, as training can save lives and improve confidence, while reducing employee turnover and psychological trauma.
Media were afforded the opportunity to see some of Grainger’s services and solutions such as its KeepStock Inventory Management and Management MRO offerings. KeepStock helps make it faster and easier to buy and manage critical inventory. “Customers want more insight into their dealings with Grainger and they want to be a part of the process and still feel in control of leveraging vendors to help them manage their inventory or manage some things themselves,” says James Finn, Sr. Director eCommerce and Inventory Solutions. According to Finn, new this year is a revamped KeepStock platform, as well as a series of new solutions that can bring greater value to customers in managing their inventory. “KeepStock puts the focus on utility of inventory management,” says Finn.
And new for 2018 are new digital tools that are fully integrated into grainger.com where customers can take more active control of their own inventory, as well as expanding the offer to include dedicated onsite personnel through Grainger’s Management MRO offering, a fee-based solution that provides full site assessments and manages a customer’s entire inventory.
Finally, editors learned more about Grainger’s involvement in the community through its disaster response, especially last past year with natural disaster’s Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Hurricane Irma in Florida and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, during a roundtable discussion with Deb Oler, senior vice president & president of North American Sales and Services and Jeff Ragan, director, Sales Operations, Compensation, Reporting and Analytics at Grainger. “Through our broad and deep relationships, we are strong believers in the community … we are willing to take the position in emergency response,” says Oler.
Grainger adds value especially in times of need, through setting up cross-functional command centers, partnering with local governments, and getting supplies where and when needed is of the utmost importance. “There was a large hospital in the Houston market that needed a pump, for example, to safeguard against flooding and we were able to accommodate the request late at night,” says Ragan.
Grainger has built processes to work with local government agencies, state agencies and FEMA, says Oler, to be able to do things like, for example, have a trucker that is taking supplies to the hospital be able to get to its destination without logistical problems.
Witnessing the success of the 2018 Grainger Show and its educational programs, one can clearly identify the company’s dedication to its customer through added value with inventory management, e-commerce, client safety and community involvement. Moving forward, Grainger’s Macpherson emphasizes Grainger’s effort on best solutions, putting together the best sales and service teams and streamlining the transaction process.