D&S Electrical Supply Co. Responds To On-Demand Economy
D&S Electrical Supply Co., a womenowned small business with locations in Pocatello and Idaho Falls, Idaho, has been serving industrial, commercial and residential customers throughout eastern Idaho and western Wyoming for 39 years.
Brother and sister team, Andy Akers, CEO/special projects coordinator, and Angela Lyon, vice president, agree that the company’s commitment to top-notch customer service is what keeps customers coming back.
Although the company competes with local and national distributors Platt, Wesco, Consolidated Electrical Distribution and Electrical Wholesale Supply Co. Inc., Akers says what sets D&S apart is the company’s ability to make decisions locally and quickly. “There’s not a corporate chain of command,” he added. “We do whatever it takes to satisfy our customers.”
Akers recalls getting an afterhours report that one of their customers, a Heinz food processing plant, was down due to the outage of a highvoltage fuse. The company was losing $150,000 an hour.
“Without thinking twice, I chartered a private jet to Portland, Oregon, to get the part,” he said. “I was able to get the plant up and running in four hours and saved the company more than $1 million. That’s the type of customer service we provide at D&S.”
Behind D&S’s success is a strong team, which Akers is looking to expand. With a customer mix of 50% industrial, 30% commercial and 20% residential, Akers attributes much of the company’s success to his team of 25 associates, who have a combined 140 years of industry experience, including extensive expertise supporting large, complex construction projects.
The company recently hired three new associates. However, Akers says in today’s strong job market, it can be difficult to find qualified people with electrical experience. He doesn’t see that as a deterrent though.
“If a prospective associate has a can-do attitude and is interested in learning new skills, I will hire him or her and provide the necessary training through programs like IMARK University and the National Association of Electrical Distributors,” he added.
In addition to finding good associates, Akers said in today’s on-demand economy it can be challenging for many companies, including D&S, to respond to customers’ increasing demands. “They want what they want, when they want it,” he said. “But our business philosophy is ‘think like a customer’ and that is the driving force behind our actions and attitudes.”
Companies expect suppliers to know their intentions on the spot, which means businesses like D&S need to respond quickly. “With more than $3 million dollars of inventory on our shelves, we are well-equipped to meet our customers’ needs,” Akers added. “We also carry a lot of C and D items, but many of our competitors don’t.” D&S is responding to heightened expectations by having a fleet of trucks ready to respond to customer requests and emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “Our team is at the core of our success, Akers said. “They are the ones delivering products to our customers when they need them.”
With a commitment to error-free performance, D&S’s strength is in anticipating customers’ needs and continually looking for new ways to streamline operating efficiencies. “We help customers lower supply chain costs and raise the efficiency of their operations through a combination of advanced, innovative distribution capabilities,” Akers said.
As sustainability continues to become more important for all companies, across most industries, D&S is embracing the opportunity to sell and recycle products such as fluorescent lamps, wooden pallets, wooden wire reels, paper products, scrap wire, aluminum and copper items, as well as providing recycling services for used pallets and wire reels.
Although the retrofit market is not new, the opportunities continue for D&S, particularly for commercial and industrial businesses, which Akers says supports the company’s sustainability initiatives.
“We take environmental issues very seriously,” Akers said. “Buildings consume a significant amount of energy and retrofits can improve sustainability and energy performance. By lowering our customers’ energy usage through lighting retrofits, we are optimizing energy use.”
Fifteen percent of D&S’s total business is in retrofits. To date, the company has reduced its customers’ kilowatt usage by more than 20 million through retrofit projects.
D&S is also very heavily invested in the nuclear industry. For the past 35 years, the company has been supplying materials and services to Idaho National Laboratory (INL), part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s complex of national laboratories. It is the nation’s lead laboratory for nuclear energy research, development, demonstration and deployment.
Akers says much of D&S’s success with INL is a result of the company’s efficiency in areas such as just-in-time deliveries, placing and storing job orders until needed, stocking emergency parts and wire cutting to specific lengths.
He also credits D&S’s IMARK membership with helping to lay the groundwork for success. “The GainShare opportunities, educational resources and networking with manufacturers that comes with being an IMARK member have been invaluable,” Akers said. “I wish we had joined sooner!”
For more information, visit d-s.com.