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The role of the master distributor is simple — to have on hand and provide an expanse of inventory not traditionally stocked by wholesale distributors. It’s who you go to when you need the item — and need it now to fullfill your customer’s order. By offering a wide array of inventory and products, the master distributor is a partner for the success of the traditional wholesale distrubor.
Stockpile Express (www.stockpileexpress.com) is a master distributor of heating, HVACR and water heating supplies, selling exclusively to wholesale distributors. The company carries thousands of items on hand, and has a dedicated, customer-centric team that understands that you don’t need a part now — you needed it yesterday. Supporting the channel by only selling to wholesale distributors, the master distributor gets you what you need, when you need it.
We sat down with Kevin Downing, general manager of Stockpile Express, to learn more about the company, its focus and how it supports the channel.
Ruth Mitchell: Stockpile Express (SPX) is a master distributor of heating, HVACR and water heating needs. Describe the business model and customer demographics.
Kevin Downing: Our business model is set up to quickly respond to the needs of wholesale distributors across the United States. We have an extensive inventory on hand; whether they need a hard-to-find item or are looking for everyday stock needs, we have it readily available for immediate shipment and fast delivery. We don’t sell to OEMs, contractors or homeowners.
RM: Please tell us the niche area, or “gap” in the industry channel that SPX fills.
KD: Wholesale distributors can rely on us for low-demand SKUs and C, D and E replacement parts. Inventory is a significant investment for any distributor. We can save wholesale distributors from having to carry and return products with irregular movement and help them avoid vendor minimums.
We are here to be an extension of their wholesale business so they don’t need to worry about tying up valuable dollars. Instead, they can count on us to fulfil the one-off requests so they can invest in other areas of their business.
RM: The company has extensive inventory, available at a moment’s notice. Tell us about the verticals covered. How many manufacturers are represented and the number of SKU’s available on hand?
KD: We are proud to offer a large inventory of heating, HVACR and water heating parts. We offer more than 100 top brands, as well as thousands of heating and HVACR OEM direct or universal replacement parts.
We also offer a number of growing product lines: Honeywell, White Rogers, Robertshaw, Reznor, Sterling, the Nortek family of products, York, Guardian, Coleman, Luxaire, Fasco, Bellimo and Maxitrol. Overall, it is important to us to carry an overwhelming breadth of product within each of the lines we carry so that our wholesale customers don’t have to.
RM: The company’s motto is “Order Today, It’s On the Way.” Why is speed important, and how does SPX back up its motto?
KD: To be successful in this business, availability and delivery of speed are key. When an emergency or repair job comes up, our customers need product ASAP. That’s why we are committed to providing them with same-day shipping on all orders placed by 4 p.m. EST.
Whether the order is placed online or through our customer service team, as long as it is in our system by 4 p.m., it will go out the same day. We even include a prominent countdown on our website, so customers know exactly how much time they have left to place an order for same-day shipping. Any orders placed after that time will ship the next business day.
RM: It’s all about the customer experience, and SPX concentrates on customer satisfaction. Tell us what customers can expect when partnering with SPX.
KD: Our customers can expect to find the product they need, and they can rely on our same-day shipping guarantee — all at competitive pricing. We provide volume discounts, don’t require any order minimums and offer free shipping on orders of $2,500 or more.
Plus, our customers can expect us to be a reliable, attentive partner. We have a dedicated in-house customer service team available during normal business hours Monday-Friday via online chat, email and phone. Each representative has years of experience in the HVACR industry and can assist with product selection, cross-referencing and technical support.
RM: What happens if a customer is requesting an older or obsolete item?
KD: We automatically recommend comparable products for any old or discontinued parts. We have thousands of heating and HVACR OEM direct replacement parts or universal options. Direct parts are the first choice designed to fit OEM specifications, when the direct replacement is not available, then a universal part can be a functional equivalent.
RM: Please describe the ease in which customers connect and shop with SPX.
KD: When a customer comes to our website, they are not browsing, they are looking for a specific product. That’s why we make sure our online ordering process is as easy as possible. They can search for a product by keyword or part number.
Once they sign in, all the information they need is easily accessible. Customers can view inventory status, up-to-date pricing (including volume discounts available) and shipping costs — all before placing an order and checking out.
Creating an account with us is easy and there are several prompts on our website to do so. Any requests for a new account will be processed in less than one business day. Since many of our customers have timely and critical needs, our customer service team is available by phone or live chat to jump in and get an order processed ASAP.
Our customers success is our success, and we want to make their experience with us as quick, easy and hassle-free as possible.
RM: How does SPX react to the changes in the inventory channel to help distributors?
KD: Not all manufacturers are set up to take small orders and ship replacement parts right away. Order entry and the time it takes to leave the factory can take several days, days our wholesale customers simply don’t have. That is where we step in, we are set up to process orders quickly and get product out via next-day air.
RM: Did the COVID-19 pandemic impact the products SPX sells? How did it impact business overall?
KD: Regardless of the pandemic, emergency situations still arise for our customers and despite some supply chain shortages due to COVID-19, we were still able to fulfil customer orders, thanks to our strong manufacturer partnerships and large inventory.
RM: Is there a vision to expand the company and its product offering beyond HVACR?
KD: We will always look to add products that meet our customer’s needs, and we will continue to adapt to the market. A good example of this is the indoor air quality parts and equipment we added this year. COVID-19 has changed the way our customers view indoor air quality, and we believe this will be a big growth segment in the wholesale industry.
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