One of the things I love about the triennial IFPE Show in Las Vegas is that I always get new insights on component manufacturers, even ones I thought I knew well. Such was the case this year in talking to Matt Grussing, Director of Sales – Western Region & Key Accounts, at Bailey International. I’ve assumed that the company was solely a manufacturer of hydraulic cylinders, pumps valves, etc., but when I asked Grussing about how their supply chain was these days, he surprised me with his answer. Bailey, he said, was a good blend of a manufacturer and a distributor, and that has greatly helped their customers with the supply chain situation.
“We take the manufacturer’s mentality of the quality, the on-time delivery, all of the different aspects of that, and blend it in with our distribution mentality that allows us to do inventory management systems for people,” he said. “We do a lot of pre-planning. We’ve got an intuitive inventory management software that we utilize. And when customers partner with us on a contracted inventory basis, that system then takes over and watches their ebbs and flows of the inventory pools and automatically adjusts our inventory loads in our production. That allows us to be at the right place at the right time.”
According to Grussing, Bailey was a distributor back when the company first started. It evolved into a manufacturing company about three decades ago. But as it grew, the family that owned the company (until 2012) evolved into the manufacturing mentality, but never lost the distributor mentality.
“So, in 2020 when COVID happened — when that cliff dropped — a lot of our customers who were on this contract manufacturing were in good shape, because Bailey has its inventory bulked up. They didn’t get in a cash-tight situation; they weren’t forced to take the inventory,” said Grussing. “And when things rebounded in August, we had all that inventory piled up for them, so they were able to be in the market faster. We really view that as a huge part of our business. This is an augmentation to the mentality of serving customers both as a manufacturer and a distributor, to be able to serve that rapid nimble way that a distributor does, but with the manufacturing scale and mentality.”
I’d not previously given a lot of thought to the companies that blend the manufacturing and distributor roles, but at least in this supply chain instance, it seems that the setup could be the best of both worlds for end customers.
Filed Under: Fluid Power World Magazine Articles