HVACRDB

Selling Quality and Quantity

Talk to any of Duro Dyne's 22 sales representatives across the United States, and you'll get an earful on what's happening in the sheet metal fabricating business. There are two big reasons why you'll get so much information: First, Duro Dyne's sales representatives are Duro Dyne employees - not manufacturer representatives - so they know what they're selling and where their product is being used. Second, as the world's largest seller of sheet metal accessories and equipment, there is always something new to talk about when it comes to Duro Dyne.

Duro Dyne has been growing as a manufacturer since its founding in 1952 by Milton Hinden, who began in the HVACR business by selling hardware items from the trunk of his car after serving in the Army. Milton Hinden grew Duro Dyne into a national - and then international - company. Today, his son, Randall S. Hinden, runs the company, with headquarters in Bay Shore, NY. The business employs more than 200 people and operates four manufacturing facilities in the United States and Canada. The company's global presence includes sales in the Far East, the Middle East, Europe and South America.

While Milton Hinden passed away in 2000, his entrepreneurial spirit continues to be a vital part of what drives Duro Dyne. Hinden understood and enjoyed all parts of the business. He created and held patents for many of the Duro Dyne products, but he also thrived on the marketing side of the business. This “full-service” concept - from research and development all the way through to marketing and sales - has separated Duro Dyne over the years from the competition. Duro Dyne not only knows how to manufacture the goods, it knows how to sell them too. This has made its distributors across the country very glad to be associated with Duro Dyne.

“We pride ourselves on quality,” says Randall Hinden, Duro Dyne's president, who grew up with the company and joined full-time in 1983 upon his graduation from college. “We've always been very concerned about the quality of our products and the quality of our service to our distributors.”

While Duro Dyne is committed to quality and service, it also maintains a significant advantage when it comes to quantity of products. Because of Duro Dyne's extensive research and development program, the company has introduced more new products and processes than its competitors, Hinden says. And many of Duro Dyne's products are now accepted standards in the field. Duro Dyne developed and patented products such as flexible duct connector, vane rail and blade kits for multiblade dampers and self-drilling sheet metal screws.

Because of Duro Dyne's increasingly diverse product line, the company divides itself into six divisions that incorporate all of the parts that will be required to build a typical lightweight commercial or industrial duct system. Its largest division is the Duro Dyne Supply Division, manufacturing and marketing accessories required in ductwork fabrication.

The Supply Division produces the company's “bread-and-butter” products such as insulation fasteners, screws and rivets, Hinden says, as well as the flexible duct connectors, adhesives and sealers, and air-regulation hardware. Most recently, the division has developed Multisize Regulators and Aerodynamic Target Washer Weld Pins.

Hinden says Duro Dyne's DuroZone Division “never seems to fall asleep” because it continues to develop new products year after year for the HVACR marketplace. Its in-house engineering staff develops state-of-the-art residential and light commercial motorized dampers and controls to more efficiently direct conditioned air from room to room. Meanwhile, the company's Dyn-O-Mate Division produces and markets a line of four-bolt duct- connection systems, while the Dyna-Tite Division manufactures an innovative line of cable locks and wire rope that facilitates the hanging of duct and equipment, eliminating the need for a costly threaded rod.

Duro Dyne also markets a complete line of sheet metal hand tools - everything from snips and notchers to crimpers and seamers - for the sheet metal tradesman, as well as many other tools geared to its distributors' needs. Its Machinery Division manufactures such items as insulation cutting equipment, portable spot welders, water-based adhesive application systems and insulation fastening equipment.

With so many products in so many different areas, it's no wonder that Duro Dyne employs a full-time sales staff that covers the United States and Canada. “They live and breathe Duro Dyne, and they're serving sheet metal contractors and the engineering community,” Hinden says. Not only do they know the products that they sell, but they also have training at servicing Duro Dyne equipment. “That's something nobody else does,” Hinden says with pride. The sales staff receives continuous training to ensure that they can troubleshoot the equipment that they sell. Every annual sales meeting includes a hands-on equipment workshop.

Hinden maintains a selected distribution network for a simple reason: Duro Dyne has an exceptionally well-established reputation, and there is high regard for the brand.

“We don't set up every guy in town,” he says. “We will set up those that will market our product line properly and not dilute the value of having access to the Duro Dyne line. Most of the markets are well-served, but we do look for new distributors when the situation changes.”

Duro Dyne works closely with its distributors so the distributor can get the most impact from the Duro Dyne product lines. Hinden explains that Duro Dyne's salespeople will often go on sales calls with their distributors as a way to better educate both the distributor and the distributor's customers on specific Duro Dyne products. When they sell the local contractor on a Duro Dyne product, they've established a relationship between manufacturer, distributor and contractor. “It's been a very successful technique,” Hinden says, and it ultimately creates more business for the distributor.

Following in the tradition of its founder, Duro Dyne prides itself on its sales and marketing efforts on behalf of its distributors. The company regularly runs promotions and advertises them nationally. It also keeps distributors “in the loop” and gives them plenty of time to stock up before their customers come knocking on their doors. “We try to stimulate interest at the contractor level to create more business for the distributor,” Hinden says.

Duro Dyne's most successful distributors understand the importance of marketing and sales to their business. They'll participate in Duro Dyne's marketing and advertising campaigns and look for “co-op” advertising opportunities every chance they get. “To have a distributor say they want to work with us to promote a product is something great,” Hinden says. “It pays off for their business and ours.” More and more of Duro Dyne's distributors understand the increasingly competitive nature of their business, and they're willing to put money into inventory, aggressively market themselves and devote salespeople exclusively to the nuts-and-bolts supply items. “You can no longer sit back and expect people to buy from you,” Hinden adds.

Communication with distributors is a key part of maintaining successful relations with them, Hinden says. In addition to the promotions and the ongoing, regular contact with the salespeople, Hinden produces a bimonthly newsletter for distributors called Good Times. While many newsletters follow a sporadic production schedule and never make it past the first few editions, Good Times (and its predecessor Sales Boy) has been a steady link between Duro Dyne and its customers for over 40 years. It's an opportunity for Hinden to communicate directly with distributors, keep them apprised of new promotions and marketing efforts, brief them on new products and help them get to know the company and its people better. Hinden also values the industry conventions and trade shows as a way to stay in regular contact with distributors. “We feel that our distributors are loyal to us, and by participating in many of the events, we can express our loyalty to them.” he says.

Such regular and sustained contact through so many different channels creates lasting, personal relationships in a business that is increasingly more corporate and impersonal. Hinden recalls being able to meet with a distributor and leave with a commitment for their business. Today, he says, many distributors must go through product review committees or branch managers before receiving approval. He traces this evolution in operation to the consolidation within the industry as regional and national distribution companies strive for greater efficiencies as well as increased usage of information technology systems. The bottom line is that it is an increasingly longer process to obtain commitments for new products, Hinden adds.

Duro Dyne's Bay Shore, NY, headquarters, on Long Island, is one of the company's four manufacturing facilities in the United States and Canada. Duro Dyne's other manufacturing plants are located in Santa Fe Springs, CA, Fairfield, OH, and Montreal, Canada. However, only the Bay Shore facility manufactures the Duro Dyne machinery and the DuroZone products. Each location maintains its own customer service department to handle any issues that may arise. While Duro Dyne holds internal service clinics throughout the year, the company also welcomes its distributor customers who want additional training. A customer even came from New Zealand to Duro Dyne's New York facility for product training, Hinden says.

Duro Dyne has never tried to sell its products solely on price. Hinden will let his competitors do that - because he says that's all they can do. For more than 50 years, Duro Dyne has sold itself on being the full-service manufacturer that values its distributors as partners. “We believe in our service, our quality, our marketing and our distribution,” Hinden says. “It's difficult to fight price, but we have been successful by providing a unique quality product with valued-added.” And that has been a successful formula for both Duro Dyne and its distributors.

Michael Maynard is a business writer based in Providence, RI. He writes frequently on HVACR, construction and architecture issues. Contact him at [email protected].

Duro Dyne Corporation at a Glance
President & CEO Randall Hinden
Vice Presidents Paul Thompson - VP, Sales
Lowell Blumenthal - VP, Export/Import
Leo White - VP, Controller
Carole D'Agosta - VP, Human Resources
Headquarters 81 Spence Street, Bay Shore, NY 11706
Operations 3 U.S. Locations - Bay Shore, NY; Fairfield, OH; Santa Fe Springs, CA.
1 Canada Location - Lachine, Quebec
Employees More than 200
Major Product Lines Duro Dyne Supply Division - Insulation Adhesive, Insulation Fasteners, Screws, Rivets, Flexible Duct Connector, Air Regulation Hardware
Duro Dyne Machinery Division - Insulation Fastening, Insulation Sizing, Adhesive Applications, Spot Welders
DuroZone Division - Control Panels, Zone Dampers, Thermostats for warm air and air conditioning systems
Dyn-O-Mate Division - Flanges, Corners, Cleats, Slips, Drives, Hollow Turning Vane, Vane Rail, Hanging Strap
Dyna-Tite Division - Ductwork Hanging Hardware
Duro Dyne Tool Division - Hand Tools for the HVAC user
Website www.durodyne.com

BEST PRACTICE

Definition and Example: Selective Distribution - entrusting the product line to leading distributors in each marketing area and strictly adhering to a policy of sales through distributors only.

Benefits: Having a minimal amount of core distributors allows the company and its sales force to focus resources and efforts where they can help solidify the supplier-wholesaler relationship. The distributor enhances his position in the marketplace by representing a premier product line unavailable to his competitors and is comfortable knowing their efforts will not be undermined by the manufacturer selling directly to his customers. The end-user receives a high-quality product from a stocking distributor with added values such as service and availability.

People Involved: Territory managers, sales management and ultimately the CEO are all involved in distribution decisions. Financial personnel review credit applications and input opinions on stability and integrity.

Other Considerations: With the continued consolidation in the HVAC markets and the absorption of leading distributors by larger chains, it is harder to apply the selective distribution policy. Large chains often lack the same methods of operation and goals that the leading distributor may share with the manufacturer, but sheer size and exposure of the chain make it a necessity to consider.

Contact: Susan De Simini, executive assistant, [email protected] or 631/249-9000.

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