Armed with metrics, Do it Best points to strength
Indianapolis — During its annual shareholders meeting, Do it Best Corp. CEO Bob Taylor and chairman of the board Tom Lamberth leaned on a variety of statistics to describe the state of the co-op.
Most metrics were in the positive column, with annual gross sales up 4.4% to $2.80 billion, compared with $2.68 billion in 2012, which had an extra week on the calendar. (The co-op’s fiscal year ended June 29.)
Executives also emphasized the growth of the annual member rebate. Total member rebates for 2013 were $116.4 million, the tenth consecutive year of rebates in excess of $100 million.
The co-op adjusted downward, however, its number of dealer locations, partly the result of adjusting its definition of a retail location, the co-op said. The latest tally of retail locations where consumers can walk in and buy products is “more than 3,800.” Do it Best had recently described its store count as “more than 4,000,” which included a large number of industrial and commercial desks. The move was described as an effort to improve clarity and accuracy.
During the October Market, which ended Oct. 21, the Do it Best team was armed mostly with stats heading in positive directions.
Fill rates were 97.3%, on-time delivery was measured at 98.2%, and expenses were down 5.5%, the co-op said. Of particular note was a statistic that measured operating expense ratio: 1.87% after inventory capitalization, allowing for “the best in the industry rebate,” said Taylor, and also allowing the co-op to distribute back to its members 63 cents of every dollar of gross profit.
On the lumber and building materials side of the business, lumber sales increased 32.7%. Sales through distribution were down 2.7%.
Another worthy statistic measured the number of dealers — five — that received end-of-year rebates in excess of $1 million. They were: Parker Do it Best Lumber, Beaumont, Texas; Alamo Do it Best Lumber Co., San Antonio; Runnings, Marshall, Minn.; RP Lumber Co., Edwardsville, Ill.; and Meek’s the Builder’s Choice, Springfield, Mo.
Each received checks ranging from $1 million to more than $1.7 million.
Do it Best announces vendors of the year
Indianapolis — One of the annual traditions at the Do it Best October market is the release of the vendors of the year list, selected by the Fort Wayne, Ind.-based co-op.
According to Do it Best, vendors on the 25-category list “provide the best product offerings and pricing to keep our member-owners competitive.”
Three special categories of recognition were outstanding products and services, Generac; collaborative forecasting and replenishment, Makita; and overall sales growth, Delta Faucet.
The 22 other categories and honorees are as follows:
- Cleaning Supplies and Storage: Bissell
- Electrical: First Alert
- Farm, Ranch, and Pet: Tarter Farm & Ranch Equipment
- Hand Tools: Marshalltown Company
- Hardware: Kwikset
- Heating and Automotive: Camco Manufacturing Inc.
- Housewares: Keurig
- INCOM Distributor Supply: West Chester Protective Gear
- International: Interdesign, Inc.
- Lawn and Garden, Green Goods: VPG
- Outdoor Living: Rayovac
- Outdoor Power Equipment: MTD Products
- Paint: Werner
- Plumbing: Delta Faucet
- Power Tools: Makita
- Rental: Gold Medal Products Co.
- Building Materials: Simpson Strong-Tie
- Building Specialties: Franklin International
- Commodities: CertainTeed Gypsum
- Home Décor: Surface Shields
- Lumber: Georgia Pacific Panel Division
- Millwork: Jim White Millwork
Indiana governor honors Don Wolf
Indianapolis — Retired Do it Best Corp. CEO Don Wolf re-entered the spotlight Sunday night at the co-op’s October market shareholder meeting.
Wolf received the state’s highest honor — the Sachem Award for leadership and character — hand-delivered by Governor Mike Pence.
Wolf guided Hardware Wholesale, the forerunner of Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Do it Best Corp., from a $35 million business in 1967 to his retirement in 1992, when the company’s sales were $1.25 billion. The governor also praised Wolf’s community involvement, saying Wolf “personifies everything that is good about this country, Indiana and this organization.”
In his acceptance remarks, Wolf thanked the dealers and the Do it Best employees, past and present. “All of you made this happen,” Wolf said. “You took this corporate philosophy to serve others as you like to be served, and you’ve done so much for your communities.”
Wolf is founder of The Study Connection, providing volunteer tutors to Fort Wayne students. He is also co-founder of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Fort Wane. And he was the 1993 Indiana Business Leader of the Year.
The Sachem award is named for an Algonquin term for revered leaders and is given annually to a leader who shows character, judgment and other qualities. Past winners include baseball player/banker Carl Erskine, basketball legend John Wooden and philanthropist Jane Blaffer Owen.