Parts Now! CEO, Bruce Hagan11 Jun, 2008 By: Sand Sinclair imageSource
Parts Now! CEO, Bruce Hagan
Wanting to gain more insight on Parts Now!, including Trends, Technology and
Staying Competitive, imageSource Editor Sand Sinclair poses questions to “new”
Parts Now! CEO, Bruce Hagan. Discussed is market share, growth strategies,
evolving customers and managed print solutions, among other topics. Most in the
industry are aware that Parts Now! is one of North America’s largest
distributors of laser printer parts, computer parts, and a whole lot more.
iS: You’ve worked for some major, well-known brands in the past. What
skills do you bring to the company?
BH: I’ve spent more than 20 years with two of the nation’s renowned,
premier industrial distributors, McMaster-Carr Supply Company, and W.W.
Grainger, Inc. My sphere of responsibility included operations, all aspects of
supply chain management, and merchandising and marketing, giving me both broad
and deep views of the business. While at Grainger, I also spent a few years in
senior management with the parts division, which enabled me to gain deeper
knowledge of that area. I was also CEO for a major national distributor of
safety products. Along the way I gained diverse experience that I believe will
benefit Parts Now! and its ability to compete in the laser printer parts
iS: The OEM market is flat, yet Parts Now! pulled off another
consecutive year of growth. How was this possible?
BH: At a high level, the variables or drivers it takes to compete
haven’t changed, even though the market composition is seeing change. Parts Now!
has always stood for industry leading service, quality, a wide breadth of
immediately available products, technical expertise and training capabilities.
Plus, we continue to leverage our size and resources to bring value to our
customers. Our size positions us to provide greater value to a value-conscious,
mature OEM market. Take the success of our National Accounts. Our growth &
sophistication helps our service providers as they grow. As the markets’
customers grow in size and influence, they demand greater performance from
suppliers. We have the resources to answer those demands with collaborative
partnerships for inventory consolidation, custom parts ordering, custom
labeling, logistics support, etc. We’re uniquely positioned to address these
needs, which in turn, helps us to increase competitive barriers.
iS: What’s your vision for operations, sales, and executive
management? Any predictions? Forecasts?
BH: Parts Now! is driving substantial opportunity for our customers
in managed print solutions (MPS). We are experiencing significant success in
providing our unique approach to software solutions, coupled with unparalleled
support for the customer and unparalleled support for parts. Throw in our MWAi
partnership, and we have an extraordinarily comprehensive offering. Parts Now!
expects, reflective of others in the industry, to see substantial growth in the
iS: You have a large portion of the U.S. market share, but a smaller
percentage compared to the worldwide market. Where do you go from here?
BH: We believe there remains a substantial opportunity domestically.
By leveraging our size and applying world-class operations and sales
methodologies, we expect to be the clear, best-choice solution for a larger
portion of the U.S. market. As we further improve performance capabilities,
we’ll continue to look beyond the U.S. for growth. We currently have a growing
business unit in Canada. As we learn more from that operation, opportunities in
other geographic markets are expected. Most importantly, I would expect Parts
Now! to focus resources on understanding market trends and developing product
expansion to grow all customer relationships. Parts Now! will focus on being
able to immediately support customers the day that other technologies replace
laser printing in significant volume. We will be proactive in supporting our
customers for whatever comes next.
iS: Does the company have influence over other parts distributors?
BH: I don’t view our market position as one of influence as much as
accountability. We should hold each other to higher standards that ultimately
benefit the customer. The industry doesn’t share or collaborate as well as it
could, which is unfortunate because we all face similar pressures. We need a
unified voice to deal with common supplier issues or a common means to share
iS: Who is your core customer today, from say, 20 years ago?
BH: Our customers are getting larger and more sophisticated as the
market evolves. Parts Now! is developing capabilities to effectively meet the
needs of not only larger customers, but also smaller customers with the tenacity
to survive in a maturing marketplace. Understanding and being able to provide
answers to different customer segments will be key to market wide success.
iS: What’s ONE area you’ll change? And won’t?
BH: We need to stay ahead of current and future technological changes
underway. We don't want to go the way of the buggy whip. It’s a matter of
taking what has already driven Parts Now! to be an industry leader, and driving
it harder, more effectively and faster. But one thing that will never change is
our focus on the best possible core offering, leading the industry in printer
iS: ITEX helped you how?
BH: ITEX is a valuable venue for understanding the hot topics of our
industry. There are few places where customers and competitors are all in one
place. And since our industry lacks a unified professional association, events
like ITEX are especially vital in creating a community forum for networking and
sharing industry insights. As a newcomer it was a perfect way to learn what is
working, to help accelerate the learning curve. As ITEX is held in Las Vegas, I
can’t seem to get those Elvis tunes out of my head, however!
iS: What do you see as the future of the laser printer parts industry?
BH: It comes down to the ability to anticipate printing technology
changes, along with translating customer information into actionable
solutions. That sounds easy but it isn’t. Business is filled with companies
that can find their way through the data presented, but can’t execute in a way
that’s valued by the customer. As the market continues to consolidate it will
have greater influence, and place greater demands on suppliers like us. We’ll
have to provide solutions that are more comprehensive, and address the increased
pressure on margin. The industry will need to keep one eye on customer needs
and the other on internal efficiencies, quality and productivity. I’m not sure
that all the current players in the industry will be successful at both. I’m
eager to lead Parts Now! in maintaining our edge for the long haul.