DOY Finalist: Point Spring & Driveshaft

News Truck Parts & Service Staff December 19, 2012

Bill Ryan, CEO of Point Spring & Driveshaft Co., is very adamant about one thing: mastering business fundamentals is essential for business success, growth and longevity.

“I think people try to get fancy and try to go after the next trend,” he says. “We have been a business that has tried to really stick with the fundamentals because if you are not doing the basics correctly, you don’t have a foundation to build on. If you try to build on a weak foundation, you just don’t go anywhere.”

As a result, he adds, “Managing inventories is absolutely imperative. Managing our cash flow is absolutely critical, going after receivables, making sure our managers’ bonuses are based on income and sales and their inventory management and how they collect money, these things are important. This is what it is all about.”

Surviving The Bubble & Looking Beyond

Market conditions have changed dramatically since 2005 when Point Spring & Driveshaft was named the Truck Parts & Service Distributor Of The Year, yet relying on the fundamentals allowed the business to make it through relatively unscathed.

“We really did not cutback on services and we made a conscious effort not to cut back on people,” Ryan says. He met with his managers and told them that expenses needed to be reduced and anything that was not necessary needed to be cut.

“Obviously we eliminated overtime, but we made a concerted effort not to let anybody go because we know that this is a cyclical business and that it would come back. We did not want to lose good people. We had established a pretty good team and you did not want to cut somebody good who is on the team if you don’t have to,” he says.

Having the right people in place contributed to Point Spring not only weathering the storm but continuing to thrive. However, Ryan says that one of the biggest challenges he faces is finding people who can step into leadership positions in the future.

“This industry has been one where you had some good people come in, work a lot of their career and get moved into key positions, management positions,” he says. However he acknowledges that his business is lacking people with formal college educations. “We probably are lacking in MBA-types that I really think we are going to need them over the next 10 to 20 years. That is something we are trying to address. We will be looking at more people — not necessarily younger people — who have the MBA-type background to help us get to the next level.”

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