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In September 2020, in the midst of a year of uncertainty and contraction due to events outside of one’s control, Porter Pipe and Supply (www.porterpipe.com) opened up a new location outside of its established metro Chicago service area. It wasn’t just a new branch; it’s a full-service distribution center minutes away from downtown Indianapolis.
The expansion, done at a time of uncertainty, was not uncertain at all. It was steeped in faith, commitment to its employees, customers and community. Here’s an exclusive look at the next chapter in the Porter Pipe and Supply handbook.
Porter Pipe and Supply, headquartered in Addison, Ill., is a three generation, family-owned and operated wholesale supplier of commercial and industrial plumbing supplies, PVF, HVACR equipment and mechanical products. It has served the metro Chicago area since 1976, with a focus on being a go-to supplier for commercial plumbing, mechanical contracting, industrial repair and manufacturing.
Its mission is simple and direct: “Through faith in God, we are dedicated to superior service, honesty and integrity in all we do. A positive attitude and attention to detail will ensure complete customer satisfaction.”
Guided by its mission, Porter held a grand opening celebration on Oct. 27, 2020, for the new 82,000-square-foot distribution center. After the ribbon cutting ceremony and group prayer, customers, vendors and the local community enjoyed an afternoon of live music from local musicians, local family owned food trucks and libations from a local brewery. As an essential business, the company abided with COVID-19 safety regulations – and added a fun twist. Guests were greeted with a bobblehead of its company’s President, Bud Porter, and CEO Jim Porter, as well as hand sanitizer, being conscientious of sanitation amidst COVID-19. Also attending the opening were members of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce
The Mayor of Indianapolis, Joe Hogsett, said in a statement, “We are excited to welcome Porter Pipe & Supply to our city. Their grand opening is yet another reminder that Indianapolis remains a great place to expand and grow a business.”
The facility is the fifth in Porter Pipe’s portfolio. “We are equipped to help you tackle even the biggest jobs with the same high-quality products and value-added services you know and love from our family-owned and -operated team,” says Stephanie Porter, manager of marketing and brand initiatives, Porter Pipe.
Moving into the region was a natural extension for the company. “Indianapolis is a busy market with opportunity for Porter Pipe to elevate the service level,” says Frank Porter, General Manager, Porter Pipe. “We have partnered with contractors in Indianapolis for several years now, and it was time to invest into its great city and market.”
Overseeing the state-of-the-art distribution center and its 16 team members, is Frank Porter, a third-generation family member, who’s leadership and direction brought with him several team members from the Chicago area.
“Roughly half of our Indianapolis team consists of veteran team members who relocated to the Indianapolis area to get the new facility opened for business,” he notes. “Their knowledge and experience are a major asset, and something that they have been sharing with the locally hired team members from day one.”
Innovation and Technology
The Indianapolis location is a full-service facility, equipped with overhead cranes, recessed loading docks, pipe cutting, threading and grooving equipment, will-call sales counter, as well as an onsite training and meeting space. The large footprint of space allows for the company to stock a large and vast inventory of product for its customers. Housing of pipe and materials indoors keeps it away from the elements.
Always looking to innovate and keep technology on the forefront, the location incorporates new features combined with Porter Pipe’s tried-and-true customer service and value-added benefits.
“This is our first location to be launched with a fully live warehouse management system called Total Warehouse Logistic,” Frank Porter explains. “All inventory is accurately located, tracked and verified through barcoded labeling and RF scanning technology. The system ensures a higher level of accuracy when receiving, stocking, picking and loading material every day.”
Other value-added standards include:
95 percent fill rate for maximum efficiency, less backorders and reduced downtime.
In-house cutting and end-preparation equipment.
Extended hours via a second shift, which allows for material pick up and order placement well beyond standard office hours.
Material handling and field service fleet to move materials more easily.
Next day, no charge boom truck delivery.
No charge mobile warehouse to be loaded and kept on the job site for the duration of the project to keep the job moving.
24-hour emergency service - so you can always call on our team.
“Porter Pipe is proud to be a new member of the Indianapolis business community,” Frank Porter notes. “We will strive to raise the bar in terms of service, partnership and communication with our customers. Bringing our service and, more importantly, our people to Indianapolis is a major step in expanding our geographic footprint as a company.”
The company is focused on servicing central and southern Indiana through the new location. “Our vision is to expand our geographic footprint through additional branches in the surrounding areas and use the Indianapolis facility as the distribution center to keep new locations fully stocked and ready to service our customers,” Frank Porter explains.
The company’s motto is ‘Partnership with Purpose,” and I asked how it is impacting the local area.
“We are dedicated to bringing the same level of world-class service that our customers in Chicago experience every day to the Indy market,” Frank Porter says. “Our company brings value to our customers in many unique ways, and it is our job to make sure that our value hits their bottom line. Repeat business is the only way to make it in this industry, so we must continue to bring more and more value to our customers every day.”
Porter Pipe and Supply will continue to hire locally and expand its partnerships within the community, continuing its commitment and pledge to help enrich the communities it serves. This includes being a member of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce to immersing itself in local charities, such as Wheeler Mission. It is an extension of a rule at Porter Pipe: “We won’t ask for your business unless we have a plan to improve it.”