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Allen-Bradley, A-D form national accounts and integrated supply alliance

Feb. 1, 2003
Allen-Bradley Co. (A-B), Milwaukee, Wis., and Affiliated Distributors, Inc. (A-D), Wayne, Pa., have decided to work together to capture more national-account

Allen-Bradley Co. (A-B), Milwaukee, Wis., and Affiliated Distributors, Inc. (A-D), Wayne, Pa., have decided to work together to capture more national-account and integrated-supply contracts.

Under terms of a program called Rockwell & Affiliated Distributors Industrial Alliance Solution (RADIAS), A-B will be able to coordinate its distributors-including A-D members and nonmembers in some cases-using A-D's systems, without violating A-B limited-distribution territory assignments. A-D, on the other hand, will be able to offer A-B products as part of its package of products and services to customers nationwide.

Both companies declined to discuss the agreement, citing policies against commenting on programs under development, but according to a letter mailed to A-D member distributors by A-D President Bill Weisberg, and obtained by EW's sister publication Electrical Marketing newsletter, A-B will not become an A-D vendor, and will not take part in the buying/marketing group's programs and financial incentives.

The letter brought out the following key points:

* Under the RADIAS program, all A-D members-whether or not they're A-B distributors-will be presented to customers whether the presentation is done by A-D or A-B. Any A-D member already doing business with a customer will be automatically written into the contract.

* The customer can select any A-D member or any A-B-authorized branch of a non-A-D-member distributor to supply a plant under the contract. Non-A-D-member distributors must pay a fee to participate in the proposal, plus an annual fee to participate in the program once a contract is awarded.

* A-D members that are not A-B distributors but that are included on a contract will be free to compete with A-B distributors and products.

* RADIAS is not intended as an offensive selling tool; it's introduced when a customer needs a single-source contract that includes A-B products.

Weisberg emphasized in the letter that the relationship between A-B and A-D will be strictly a marketing alliance, and will focus solely on national accounts and integrated supply.

The two organizations have been growing closer over the past few years, as an increasing number of A-B distributors have joined the ranks of A-D members, including several on the A-D board of directors. An estimated 85% of A-B's largest distributors are A-D members; and A-B distributors make up 30% of A-D's Electrical Supply Division membership and 75% of its electrical sales on national contracts, according to A-D. In light of this alignment, industry observers have long been predicting some sort of cooperation between the two as a way for A-B to capture more national accounts and integrated supply business while preserving its limited distribution policies and fending off pressure from customers and national chains to authorize sales for MRO contracts on a national basis.

The program is expected to be introduced and implemented early in 1998.

About the Author

Doug Chandler | Senior Staff Writer

Doug has been reporting and writing on the electrical industry for Electrical Wholesaling and Electrical Marketing since 1992 and still finds the industry’s evolution and the characters who inhabit its companies endlessly fascinating. That was true even before e-commerce, LED lighting and distributed generation began to disrupt so many of the electrical industry’s traditional practices.

Doug earned a BA in English Literature from the University of Kansas after spending a few years in KU’s William Allen White School of Journalism, then deciding he absolutely did not want to be a journalist. In the company of his wife, two kids, two dogs and two cats, he spends a lot of time in the garden and the kitchen – growing food, cooking, brewing beer – and helping to run the family coffee shop.

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