Grainger Show focuses on expertise, efficiency

March 11, 2015
Themes at the Grainger Show included the company’s propensity to match industry expertise and service efficiency with consumer demand. The mission at Grainger is to help its customers keep their operations running and their people safe. The epicenter of the show featured Grainger Town, where products, solutions and best practices come to life in an interactive setting.
The No. 31 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car showcased at Grainger Town.

ORLANDO, FLA. — Themes accentuated at the annual Grainger Show included the company’s propensity to match industry expertise and service efficiency with consumer demand.

“Customers want us to be a full-service supplier and that equates to more technical expertise,” said Jim Ryan, chairman, president and CEO, Grainger, while meeting with a group of trade journalists during a media roundtable.

“There isn’t a market segment that doesn’t have cost savings on their agenda these days. By hiring sector expertise, we can provide much deeper knowledge at Grainger.”

In its 11th year — with more than 17,000 attendees — the 2015 Grainger Show was the largest to date. The event included more than 750 exhibitors on a 367,000-sq.ft. trade show floor, along with several seminars, workshops and networking sessions. Show attendees learned the latest solutions, services and best practices in areas such as inventory management, safety and eCommerce, with a focus on key industries, including manufacturing, healthcare and hospitality.

“We try to understand the business challenges of our customers and try to solve them,” said Deb Oler, vice president and general manager of Grainger.

The mission at Grainger is to help its customers keep their operations running and their people safe. “Customers trust Grainger to provide them with the right products, services and solutions,” said Oler. “This show enables attendees to learn how Grainger partners with them to examine their challenges and MRO spend, and how we develop comprehensive and proven strategies to help them save time and money.”

Jim Ryan, chairman, president and CEO, Grainger, speaks with the trade press.

Grainger Show guest speaker, Bob Dillow, director of Plant Operations, Engineering, Construction, Parrish Medical Center, Titusville, Fla., at Sodexo, gave a first-hand account of working more efficiently with team Grainger by managing stock. Working with Grainger healthcare account manager, Rich Talmage, Dillow and his team secured up to 3,000 man-hours per year by analyzing data and adjusting inventory levels.

“We were able identify inefficiencies in our processes; we started to manage things instead of having them manage us,” said Dillow.

Furthermore, Dillow expressed the importance of attending the Grainger show every year, “This is one of the only tradeshows that my team comes back with new ideas.”

Skilled trades

According to Laura Coy, senior manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship program is just one example of how businesses can help support the skilled trades. Grainger has offered 125 community colleges across the United States 250 scholarships of $2,000 each for students enrolled — in their final year — in the industrial trades or public safety program, half of which are earmarked for military veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces in recognition for their service.

In 2006, Grainger partnered with the American Association of Community Colleges to launch the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship program, which aims to increase the number of students pursuing degrees and careers in the skilled trades. Since 2006, Grainger has donated more than $2 million to support technical education.

Grainger once again recognized October as Skilled Trades Awareness Month in 2013. Grainger partnered with the Aspen Institute’s Skills for America’s Future organization to create an interactive skilled trades playbook called “Dynamic Partnerships for a New Economy.” The playbook is a comprehensive, practical guide for building workforce partnerships between businesses and community colleges that find, train and advance workers in the industrial skilled trades. See the complete playbook at

Let’s go racin’

The epicenter of the show features Grainger Town, where products, solutions and best practices come to life in an interactive setting. Through this 20,000-sq.-ft. exhibit, customers learned about inventory management options in the “General Store,” safety in the “Building Under Construction” and all things “e” in the “eCommerce Store.” The “Library” featured solutions to reduce MRO costs and the “Theater” showcased experts highlighting the areas of safety, inventory management, eCommerce and much more.

Within Grainger Town sat the No. 31 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car. Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Grainger announced a multi-year partnership in which

Grainger will serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 31 Chevrolet driven by Ryan Newman for select NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races beginning with the June 7 event at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. Grainger also will be featured as an associate sponsor on the No. 31 for all Cup Series events in which it is not the primary sponsor.

Solutions provider

The 2015 Grainger Show also demonstrated how Grainger is uniquely positioned to serve its customers through its latest solutions and services. The resources include:

eCommerce: A growing segment of Grainger’s business is through its eCommerce channel and it has become the 13th largest eCommerce company in North America — $3.6 billion in 2014 revenue, which is more than 1/3 of annual revenue.

Location-based lists allow customers to find specific products based on their smartphone’s current GPS location. Using the Grainger smartphone app, a customer standing in his or her facility can pull up a customized list of products needed to maintain that exact location. A customer then can buy the appropriate products, manage the product list and save time by having the shipping address automatically populate based on the specific location. This is especially useful for customers who manage multiple locations.

Inventory Management: Customers can now manage their KeepStock inventory through the Grainger smartphone app. The KeepStock feature is in the menu section of the app, and users can click on the icon and log in with their KeepStock credentials to begin.

Safety: Grainger recently launched its online Safety Resource Center giving customers access to the latest safety news, trends and regulatory issues. This all-access site is designed to help customers identify, control and prevent workplace hazards through quick tips, safety data sheets, newsletters and click-to-chat support.

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