Delivering the extraordinary by putting customers and team first
When a customer succeeds, ABC Supply Co. Inc. (ABC Supply) succeeds. “Founders Ken and Diane Hendricks created ABC Supply Co. Inc. to be a true partner for contractors. Their success is our success,” says Scott Morgan, Managing Partner for the Akron, Ohio, branch.
When the Hendrickses founded ABC Supply in 1982, they sought to create a roofing materials distribution business that put contractor customers’ needs before everything else. The company committed to treating contractors like the professionals they are, giving them the tools they deserve and upgrading their images along the way.
That mission has revolutionized the materials distribution business and helped to grow ABC Supply into a $10.5 billion enterprise. With more than 760 locations across the U.S., the company is currently the largest wholesale distributor of roofing materials and one of the nation’s main distributors of siding, windows and other select exterior and interior building products.
The Akron branch opened in 1997 and serves customers that include large and small general contractors, siding professionals and homebuilders. This office is one of the largest gutter distributors within ABC Supply and works closely with nine other area locations to serve customers throughout Northeast Ohio.
“Though all locations carry a wide array of materials, each branch has its own specialty and is run like a small business. No branch is exactly the same,” Scott explains. “There are some that focus on products for low-slope roofing; others specialize in shingles. There is a similar look and feel to each location, but each branch focuses on the needs of its particular market.”
Leveraging Industry Knowledge
Because of these specialty areas, team members have access to subject matter experts across the company in just about any sector of the materials business and can leverage this knowledge to provide customers with the best service and advice. “We see ourselves as an extension of your team,” Scott says.
Several years ago, the Akron branch identified a market need for improved services to the gutter industry. “We noticed that gutter professionals were being underserved by other suppliers in Northeast Ohio,” Scott says. The location partnered with sister company American Construction Metals to fill this market need and better serve customers. “We were able to leverage the company’s vast network to provide gutter professionals with a wide array of products, such as gutters, downspouts, edge metals, soffits and fascia.”
The Akron team is comprised of 30 team members, including truck drivers, material handlers, warehouse handlers and inside and outside salespeople. “We have a very tenured staff. Our team members at the counter have an average of 20 years in the industry, and many have been with us since we opened in 1997,” Scott says. “They know the market, they know the products, and they know and understand our customers.”
When Akron’s customers have projects outside of the city, Scott and his team partner with area branches to offer seamless service. “With an account and credit already established at one location, it’s an easy process to fill a customer’s supply needs, no matter the project site,” Scott says. To keep customers up to date on changes in the industry, ABC Supply hosts local contractor training events.
Making Projects Easier
To enable the success of its customers, ABC Supply provides tools and services that make projects easier. “We commit to on-time delivery, ensuring that your order arrives within a 30-minute window of its scheduled time,” Scott says. Whether that order comes from a branch or a direct shipment from the manufacturer, employees perform checks to make sure orders are accurate. “We have a very standardized customer service delivery system. Our team double checks orders when they are written, when they are loaded onto the trucks, and again when the orders arrive at the job sites,” he says.
With credit management tools, customers have the credit needed to manage cash flow. “We provide our contractor customers with access to lines of credit and terms so they can be competitive in the marketplace,” Scott says. Additionally, the company offers 24/7 access to the company’s products and pricing through ABC Connect, an online software program, as well as custom marketing materials (including truck magnets and job site signs) and manufacturer rewards support.
A Foundation of Respect
Co-founder Ken spent his early years working alongside his contractor father. Ken not only learned the inner workings of the roofing and siding business, but also saw firsthand the lack of respect his father and other contractors received from certain suppliers.
From his father, Ken learned the importance of hard work, never giving up and treating people with honesty and respect. Those values and work ethic formed the foundation of ABC Supply Co. Inc.
At the time when ABC Supply was launched, Ken was already a successful entrepreneur and the owner of two well-established companies, International Roofing and Hendricks Real Estate Properties. During the economic slowdown of the early 1980s, however, the Hendrickses decided not to sit back and wait for better times to come. Instead, they took a risk and acquired three supply centers from Bird & Sons Inc.
Though the company grew rapidly by acquiring other distributors and opening new facilities, the couple never wavered from their focus on treating people with respect and providing customers with the tools and services needed for success.
“We are known as one of the greatest places to work, and we are the supplier of choice for hundreds of professional contractors across the U.S.” Scott Morgan, Managing Partner for the Akron, Ohio, branch of ABC Supply Co. Inc.
The Ability To Do Great Things
Today, ABC Supply employs nearly 15,000 team members in 49 states. Its visionary goal is bold: To be the best company to work for in America. “Ken believed that everyone has within themselves the ability to do great things,” Scott says. “ABC Supply is dedicated to promoting and preserving the American Dream by helping people accomplish the extraordinary.”
The company is proud to have been honored with a Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award in 2019 and has been the recipient of the Gallup Great Workplace Award for 13 consecutive years. ABC Supply is one of only two organizations in the world to win the Gallup Great Workplace Award each year since its inception and is among 40 companies worldwide to earn the honor in 2019.
Guided by Core Values
The company’s focus on respect has broadened into seven core values that guide everyday operations: respect, opportunity, work hard-have fun, entrepreneurial spirit, family, give back, and American pride. “With locations nationwide, team members have the opportunity to grow and advance in their careers. We’ve had associates here who now manage their own branches in other regions,” Scott says.
He adds that ABC Supply seeks to empower employees. “The company trusts local branches to know and understand their markets, giving managers the power to make decisions and solve problems,” he says.
In addition to ongoing training, team members are challenged to set goals for themselves. “ABC Supply works to create an environment that helps associates realize those dreams,” Scott notes. In the spirit of its core value of American pride, the company is proud to have hired approximately 800 military veterans since 2014. “We employ four veterans at the Akron branch,” Scott says. “Veterans are hardworking and very disciplined. We are always looking to hire those who have served our country.”
Work and Play
ABC Supply is an employee-first company, with very low turnover, according to Scott. “When a person has the opportunity to work here, that person becomes family very quickly,” he adds. And a family who eats together stays together. “Every Friday from May through October, we have cookouts for associates, customers and their families.”
The 2019 season marks the 15th consecutive year that ABC Supply has sponsored AJ Foyt Racing, making the company the longest-active primary sponsor among teams in the NTT IndyCar Series. “Once a year, we buy tickets and charter a bus to an Indy race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Associates, customers and their families spend the day enjoying time together and cheering on our racing team,” Scott says.
In addition to a yearly trip to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the company awards up to 100 team members each year for their outstanding work with a VIP experience to the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “I’ve had seven or eight associates receive this reward over the years,” Scott says. “It’s a really nice trip and is a big deal.”
ABC Supply is committed to the communities in which it operates. Team members volunteer for after-school mentoring programs, deliver nutritious meals as part of Meals on Wheels America, partner with Habitat for Humanity, raise funds for United Way, and so much more. “Community involvement has always been important to Ken and Diane, and they’ve instilled that value at ABC Supply, making volunteering and charitable support a vital part of our corporate culture,” Scott notes.
Whether serving community or serving customers, ABC Supply certainly makes an impact. The company’s mission is to be the biggest, best and easiest service company distributing select exterior and interior building products. “We are known as one of the greatest places to work, and we are the supplier of choice for hundreds of professional contractors across the U.S.,” Scott says. “We do this by putting team members and contractors first.”