“In-stock inventory matters in our industry,” said Doug Stitt, president and CEO at The Caldwell Group Inc. “And Caldwell is responding to serve distributors better.”
Caldwell recently increased in-stock inventory levels on more than 400 of the company’s best-selling items and has given the go-ahead for manufacturer representatives and inside sales teams to begin sharing details of the program with distributors.
“Our in-stock program makes us more efficient, smarter, and better prepared to serve customers than ever before because it forces us to focus on what matters—supporting distributors,” Stitt continued.
Stitt and his team have been working for more than a year to get manufacturing processes, product management protocols, sales reporting, distributor feedback loops, and warehouse space planning in top working order to support increased levels of on-the-shelf inventory, resulting in faster order turnaround, higher order fill rates, and stronger relationships with the below-the-hook distributor network.
The result was the list of more than 400 items that are in stock, ship within one business day, and ship for free—no additional shipping charges are added to the invoice.
“Our customer service team hears how important in-stock availability is on a daily basis. We know we win orders because we have more equipment on the shelf and are ready to ship. The fact that these items ship via standard ground for free is the icing on the cake,” added Jeff Ferchen, director of business development.
Why focus on increasing inventory levels when much of the manufacturing and construction segments are still worried about the possibility of a recession? Caldwell thinks the answer is obvious.
President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill, signed into law in 2021, authorized funds for things like federal-aid highways and highway safety programs.
“That means more bridges being built, more water and sewer pipes being laid, and more highways being improved,” Stitt said. At the same time, he said Caldwell is seeing increased demand from offshore drilling, aerospace, and energy-related industries. “Certain industries are still enjoying significant growth due to pent up post-COVID demand, I think.”
To make the change possible, Stitt and the team looked at their entire operation. They made production processes more efficient with a dedication to Lean. They reviewed historical sales trends and seasonality data. They streamlined picking and shipping efforts.
“We know distributors don’t want to carry extra inventory, which adds cost to their business. So, they need to count on us to replenish quickly when they need to. We’ve set ourselves up to do just that,” Stitt said.
The bolstered inventory levels include below-the-hook lifters, such as lifting beams, coil grabs, sheet lifters; construction lifters, such as barrier grabs, pipe lifters; forklift attachments, such as fork booms, extensions, drum lifters; plus, Renfroe plate clamps and RUD lifting points.
The most popular Caldwell items on the bolstered in-stock list include select sizes of the Model 16 Economy Lifting Beam, Model 20 Low-Headroom Lifting Beam, Model 32 Adjustable Spreader Beam, Model 80H Dixon Coil Hook, and Model BEF Spreader Beam End Fittings, Model 416 Dura-Lite Composite Lifting Beam, Rig Release Remote Releasing Hooks as well as pipe picks / carriers, barrier grabs, beam clamps. Renfroe Models FR, SCPA, TLA, LPA and RUD ACP Turnado, VLBG, VWBG, ABA and others also made the cut.