North Central / Regional Reports

Airtime 500 Exec Talks About Vendor Partnering

July 9, 2001
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ST. LOUIS – Mike Robinson has a mission. The man hired to manage the “Preferred Vendor” program for Airtime 500 contractors, an hvacr contractor group under the VenVest Inc. umbrella, thinks that there are a lot of inefficiencies in current vendor/dealer relationships. And he has a cure. “Nothing ever good happens when too much time is spent in a supply house,” Robinson said. “There is a lack of productivity. Efficiency happens when less time is spent there.” Robinson added that a number of different “good” things happen when vendors and dealers practice the following:

  • “The better you tie in order processing to ‘just-in-time’ shipments, the more effective you can be.”
  • “Best prices happen when dealers have a committed relationship with a vendor.”
  • “If I (vendor) knew I was going to get your volume, I am more willing to discuss price/product discrepancies with you.”
  • Robinson said that his group’s Preferred Vendor program makes the dealer’s job easier and eliminates the need for price shopping. Airtime 500 recently added W.W. Grainger to its list of preferred vendors and expects great things.

    “We are very fortunate that Grainger has allowed us to go with them,” he added. When shopping for a vendor to partner with, Robinson suggests the following:

  • “Look for ease and convenience of doing business.”
  • “Look for support services they offer, e.g. product training.”
  • “Pricing is important but not the key factor.”
  • Publication date: 07/09/2001

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