DOTY Finalist: Wheelco

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Updated Jan 20, 2015

Satisfying customer needs has directly contributed to the success at Wheelco.

“’Customer Driven’ is our core philosophy,” says President Steve Stich. “It’s underneath our name on the literature we hand out. It’s communicated from all of our managers throughout our operation and to the customers.”

He adds, “It all starts with [the customers]. If we take care of our customers we will be successful.”

Such has been the case at Wheelco for more than 50 years.

Wheelco was founded by Stich’s grandfather in 1961 to fill a void of heavy-duty parts distributors in Sioux Falls, S.D. In the years since, the company has grown steadily from one location to six (five stores and a PDC), and offers drive-in and bench service as needs has directly contributed to the success at Wheelco.

“’Customer Driven’ is our core philosophy,” says President Steve Stich. “It’s underneath our name on the literature we hand out. It’s communicated from all of our managers throughout our operation and to the customers.”

He adds, “It all starts with [the customers]. If we take care of our customers we will be successful.”

Such has been the case at Wheelco for more than 50 years.

Wheelco was founded by Stich’s grandfather in 1961 to fill a void of heavy-duty parts distributors in Sioux Falls, S.D. In the years since, the company has grown steadily from one location to six (five stores and a PDC), and offers drive-in and bench service as well as parts sales.

Stich says each step the business takes to grow is carefully researched and vetted to ensure maximum customer benefit.

“We’re constantly analyzing our existing market share and customer base, perusing new and emerging markets in our industry,” he says. “We want to continue to rely on the same philosophy that has made us a success in the past.”

The Wheelco team is a big part of that success.

The ‘Customer Driven’ mantra would be hollow without employee buy-in, but Wheelco’s team is incredibly dedicated to its customers.

Stich says that comes through in its nomination as a finalist for the Truck Parts & Service Distributor of the Year — the company’s second in five years.

“I think it speaks volumes about the quality of our people,” he says. “To be a finalist [for Distributor of the Year] just verifies my belief that Wheelco has the best people in the industry.”

And how do they keep them?

Stich says when you have a strong team, you have to reward them. That’s why Wheelco’s management team is active in encouraging and congratulating employees for a job well done. Commission and bonus programs also help keep employees engaged, and validate their success.

Together they ensure the Wheelco team is justifiably lauded for the great work it does.

“Spotlighting employees for their success goes a long way with them,” Stich says. “It lets them know they are exceeding expectations and that we’re proud to have them [on our team].”

As he looks at the future, Stich says the tenets instilled in the company decades ago remain the most important steps in growing the business today.

Be good to your employees, your vendors and your customers, and they will reciprocate.

“[We must] continue to invest in our people, and always be vigilant in the pursuit of opportunities that will benefit our customers. This will assure our future prosperity,” Stich says. “Additionally, the promotion of a team-based approach to continuous improvement will enable Wheelco to succeed in this rapidly changing industry.”

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