Interline Brands Launches SupplyWorks

INTERLINE BRANDS BY THE NUMBERS Annual sales of $1.7 billion. Electrical product sales of about $84 billion (5% of total). Key market segments are institutional (50%), multi-family (30%) and residential (20%). SupplyWorks will cover $850 million in sales in 140,000 products such as electrical, hardware, plumbing, HVAC, janitorial, security and cleaning supplies, and other maintenance and repair supplies. 900 sales personnel supporting SupplyWorks.

With electrical products accounting for 5% of its $1.7 billion in annual sales, Interline Brands Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., has kept a fairly low profile in the electrical market. But its approximately $84.4 million in annual electrical sales could grow if the company’s new SupplyWorks strategy takes off.

On March 16, Interline announced the launch of SupplyWorks as a new national brand, combining five of its largest brands —  AmSan, CleanSource, JanPak, Trayco and Sexauer — under one national brand.  The company said in a press release that SupplyWorks will account for more than $850 million in annual revenue,  and that the new entity will be one of the largest broad-line facilities maintenance businesses in the United States by providing a full suite of products and solutions to institutional and commercial customers.

Electrical products will be part of a SupplyWorks package of over 140,000 products that includes hardware, plumbing, HVAC, janitorial, security and cleaning supplies, and other maintenance and repair products. The press release said SupplyWorks will be supported by an online storefront at www.supplyworks.com and according to its website, it has  “a team of over 700-plus highly-trained facility maintenance experts and customer support professionals to serve a diverse and expanding customer base including building service contractors, office buildings, schools and universities, healthcare institutions, lodging, and high-traffic buildings such as airports, stadiums and shopping malls.”

Electrical products will be a smaller but important piece of SupplyWorks’ product basket. And although SupplyWorks may target plumbers, HVAC contractors, janitors, security contractors and other tradespeople a bit more than electrical contractors, the concept of providing a full package of MRO products for the commercial, educational, retail and hospitality markets will be interesting to watch and will pit Interline against W.W. Grainger Inc., Lincolnshire, Ill., and other larger distributors going after the national MRO spend.

To compete against www.grainger.com, Interline will be depending on the SupplyWorks online storefront as a key tool to win business. Digital sales are familiar territory to Interline because according to its most recent financial report, e-commerce accounts for 20% of online sales. The company was ranked as one of the 100 largest e-commerce merchants by Internet Retailer.

Interline has an interesting overall mix of business. According to its 4Q 2014 data, its key customers segments are institutional (50%); multi-family (30%); and residential (20%). The company’s institutional mix of business that accounts for half of its sales includes the educational, health-care and property markets. Its MRO product mix is janitorial/sanitation (45%), plumbing (18%), hardware (9%), HVAC (8%), appliances (6%), electrical (5%), security (4%) and other products (5%).

Along with selling electrical products  under the new SupplyWorks brand, the company also sells some electrical products under private brands, including AF Lighting (residential lighting products),  and Preferred Industries (shelf-good items including wiring devices, boxes, connectors and wall plates).

The launch of SupplyWorks creates a “leading national and integrated institutional business,” said Michael Grebe, Interline’s chairman and CEO, in a press release. “Over the last decade, Interline has acquired, created and developed some of the industry’s very best facilities maintenance brands, capabilities, technologies, teams and products.

“We’re uniting five of these top brands under one national banner, and solidifying our leadership position in the institutional facilities maintenance market.  More importantly, we have realized our goal of having one team, one process, and one national platform with a full and differentiated suite of products and the best distribution capabilities in the industry. All of this comes together to provide our customers with a compelling value proposition that we believe is unique in the industry.”

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