Advance was recently the cover story in The Distributor’s Link magazine. We are thrilled to be featured in the top magazine in our industry, and happy to share the contents with you in this post. What’s next? Advance Component at 50 just keeps getting better!! Read on and enjoy.
Advance Components is investing in what’s next. That requires change-makers and visionaries with ambitious goals to create innovations in distribution and other areas. It also requires many support layers such as a well-trained sales team and a dedicated purchasing and distribution team, to move the vision forward. Collaboration is essential, otherwise we wouldn’t have lasted 50 years.
At Advance, we believe that new technologies and practices go hand-in-hand with innovation. From investing in new equipment to product training and studying industry trends, the Advance team is constantly innovating and adapting to meet our customer’s expectations and more. Our goal is to create a seamless and profitable distribution experience for our suppliers and distributor customers.
“We grow more optimistic every day about new technology’s potential to create solutions in the industrial distributor sector that will benefit our customers,” says Gary Cravens, President of Advance. “We want to redefine the norms of business by being profitable, but while also paying our team really well, and creating a workplace that is fulfilling. When our customers succeed, we succeed, it’s been our go-to mantra now for 50 years.”
Partnering with the leading manufacturers in the industry has helped establish Advance as a trusted master distributor. We have built meaningful connections with distributors who count on Advance for in-stock products, an experienced sales team, and value-added services.
Suppliers depend on Advance for value-added services that help them get their products out to their customers. Whether it’s stocking, bagging or kitting and drop-shipping, we are moving forward constantly by adding new services that help our suppliers.
Our partnerships with manufacturers, both established and new, are built around shared goals, identity, and a joint effort to increase product awareness, converting new customers, and creating true brand loyalty.
“Working with our partners towards a successful future will serve all of us well as we adapt to our fast-changing world,” says Mallory Nichols, VP of Business Development. “We have to move forward and invest in our partnerships, and work together to bring the industry the best products on the market.”
With the latest technologies in bagging and sorting, Advance is successfully fulfilling orders from suppliers and distributors who need custom packaging, kitting, labeling, barcoding and shipping services. Currently, the Advance distribution team is running seven state-of-the-art bagging machines that can be programmed to handle any customer’s request.
“Our bagging capabilities continue to expand, as a result of our customers needing a solution. Today we have a dedicated team that can pick, sort and bag up to 8,000 to 10,000 bags a day,” says Alex Acosta, Advance’s Director of Operations. “Suppliers need custom bagging, and we deliver.”
By using the global cloud platform Esker, Advance has automated and streamlined the ordering process. Optimizing high volume orders with Esker’s A-I driven technology, Advance has eliminated tedious tasks, giving team members more time to focus on supplier and customer relationships.
Another great value-added service is SmartCert®, a cloud-based platform for product certifications and documents. Advance is now able to offer product certifications attached to a QR code and/or label for easy access and storage. SmartCert® eliminates paperwork while creating a digital database of quality certifications for customers.
“Esker and SmartCert® have improved and streamlined documents for our suppliers and customers,” says Brad Burel, VP of Sales. “The dashboards provide real-time metrics and user-friendly interfaces that increase productivity and automate manual tasks. Both platforms also reduce paper and our carbon footprint, which is important as well.”
Connecting with our customers has always been a mainstay of the Advance mission. We strive to build strong relationships based on trust and mutual success. We recognize that because of supply issues and the pandemic, buyers are becoming more transactional and less concerned about relationships.
Our focus remains on human interaction, and real-time, personal responses, yet we also are offering platforms like our online store that optimize the buying experience and give the buyer control and autonomy. A simple online purchasing experience that shows real time stock, and guarantees same-day shipping on in-stock orders placed before 2pm, gives our customers a quality buying experience.
Having the inventory on hand also connects us with our customers. “Our niche is to make sure we have the inventory to sell to other distributors, so our core lines are stocked heavily,” says Michael Baughman, VP of Purchasing and Distribution. “We constantly have products in the pipeline, because these days, it seems the availability of the stock is more important than the price.”
It’s key to have shared goals, experiences and trust with our suppliers. “They know they can count on us to be their representative in the marketplace,” say Baughman. “We have an excellent reputation as the ‘distributor’s distributor,’ and that trust has leveraged us into the future.”
Advance values innovative thinking and flexibility in the employees we hire, and we empower them to offer new ideas for the team. Prioritizing progress and adaptability has given our team members the knowledge that being open to change matters to us.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, the Advance team was able to transition seamlessly to remote work, and the distribution team worked together to create safe work spaces in the warehouse that enabled the team to continue to receive and ship without disruption.
The sales, purchasing, accounting and distributions teams are equal partners in an orchestrated process that is always innovating to the benefit of our customers. Lessons learned in our operations, and throughout the industry inform and support the future purchasing of products we carry.
“The leadership team is upfront about how decisions are made, and we take ownership for any mistakes,” says Cravens. “We believe that talking about opportunities and challenges establishes a sense of trust among our colleagues, and demonstrates that navigating through the hard parts is the only way to get stronger and go farther—together.”
What’s next at Advance? Stay tuned!