Distributor of the Year finalist profile: Blaine Brothers

Things never stay the same too long at Blaine Brothers.

With a focus on customer satisfaction and a management team hungry to serve, the now three-time Truck Parts & Service Distributor of the Year finalist is constantly adapting and evolving to better serve its customers.

“We are always talking about different opportunities and things we can do,” says Dean Dally, president and owner. “I know I couldn’t come up with all of these new ideas on my own, and I’m always willing to listen to an idea someone brings to me.”

One area where the company has recently become active is in capitalizing on supplier-provided training, both for Blaine Brothers’ employees and its customers.

Parts Manager Phil Howard and new Sales Manager Mike Lerach have led the company’s advancement in this area.

Lerach, who came to Blaine Brothers this summer after a long career with two aftermarket suppliers, has worked with Howard to select the best courses to not only train his sales staff, but also to help find the best courses Blaine Brothers can host or bring to fleet customers.

Howard says he can already see the impact among his sales people.

“Our folks have really embraced it,” he says. “We’ve been able to help them grow their knowledge and their skills.”

The commitment to training has allowed Blaine Brothers to strengthen relationships and grow even closer with some of its most important vendors.

“We believe in strong relationships with our vendors and we rely on them as partners to help us grow,” Howard says.

The company also has made strides in inventory optimization, implementing a new program for managing new product rollouts that allows Blaine Brothers to better analyze sales data and proactively start dialogue with suppliers when a new line fails to meet early expectations.

Howard says the program includes benchmarks both Blaine Brothers and its suppliers must meet to even consider a new product, and a series of potential actions the company can take to maximize a product’s introduction after it is formally released.

“We lay out a plan for ourselves and our vendors to follow,” Howard says. “We are driven to give a new product the best opportunity to win.”

Updates to the company’s showrooms also have helped increase sales.

Blaine Brothers was one of several distributors to open its showroom to Butch Hill of HD Group before his merchandising program at HDAW in January. Using Hill’s comments as an outline, Howard says he’s made alterations throughout Blaine Brothers’ showrooms. The changes are definitely paying off.

“It’s amazing the difference in the foot traffic and where [customers] go when they come in. It’s way different than before,” Howard says. “It’s worked for sure.”

Then there’s the new North American Trailer facility — one of Blaine Brothers’ family of companies — opening next month in Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

The North American Trailer crew spent years developing the state-of-the-art facility. Considerably larger and more efficient than the two Inver Grove Heights facilities it replaces, the North American Trailer team is eager to enter its new digs.

“Our guys that will end up in that building are watching it go up each day,” Dally says. “They’re ready.”

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