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Leaders of Lumber: Michael Tummillo, SVP at Lowe’s

Lowe’s continues to invest in job lot quantity inventory depth and key national brands.

BY Andy Carlo

As Lowe’s senior VP and general merchandising manager of building products, Mike Tummillo has applied a guiding hand to some of the biggest changes Lowe’s has made in years — especially when it comes to the critical task of serving professional contractors. 

The SVP — a company veteran since 2004 who brings 30 years of retail experience to the table — says sales to pros account for about 20% to 25% of Lowe’s total business. And he points out that the overall pro marketplace is as large as $350 billion in annual sales across a very fragmented market. “We have room to grow our market share in the pro segment by improving our assortments, inventory depth and services to this critical customer segment,” Tummillo said. “There is an incredible opportunity to create our own tailwind with the pro.”

Tummillo took on his current role in 2018. He is responsible for merchandising strategies for the retailer’s lumber and building materials, millwork, rough plumbing and electrical divisions.

Michael Tummillo

Over the past six months to a year, he says Lowe’s has undertaken major efforts to better serve the pro. “We’ve enhanced pro customer engagement by delivering convenience, expertise, efficiency and consistency of pro services,” he said.

All store locations have a dedicated Pro Team to manage its pro business. Additionally, Lowe’s pro sales associates meet customers at their jobsite, office or facility to help them with their business needs. Adding another layer of service, the company recently hired dedicated pro loaders and management-level supervisors for all Lowe’s ProService desks and departments. Supervisors are responsibly solely for pro sales and service in the store. New dedicated pro parking spots have also been added to pro entrances to speed up the purchase process for professionals. 

Lowe’s pro customers include repairers, remodelers, renovators, tradesmen, builders and property managers. The size of their companies range from local businesses to multi-national corporations. 

Another aspect of the transition has been a continued investment in inventory. On the product side, Lowe’s is continuing to invest in job lot quantity inventory depth and key national brands that pro customers know and trust. 

“Pros can rely on our stores to have the products they need, in the quantities they need, when they need them,” Tummillo explains, noting that all U.S. stores recently added inventory depth in the most frequently purchased core pro items, like lumber and building materials, rough plumbing and electrical, and flooring. “These investments are already paying dividends with customers.”

In today’s world, convenience and technology go hand in hand. As pros lean into tech to improve the efficiency of purchasing products, Lowe’s said it is ensuring that its capabilities meet customers’ needs. The company is leveraging its digital platforms to enable more seamless purchasing and fulfillment experiences. “Simple things like ensuring customers have visibility to our inventory depth at their fingertips is critical to a pro’s decision on where they purchase their products,” Tummillo said.

“In the past, we’ve been a convenience supplier and a second choice for pros due to our inconsistent inventory position and speed of service. With changes in service and inventory depth investments, we can win customer loyalty and gain market share. We’re confident that combining convenience, buying power and quick, consistent service is key to winning the pro,” Tummillo said.

“For more than a decade, Lowe’s has been the home improvement destination of choice for the light DIY customer — the more casual DIY customer who likes to do smaller home improvement projects themselves but needs help in determining product selection,” Tummillo says. “However, we knew we couldn’t achieve our growth ambitions without being a better supplier to the pro customer.”

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the June 2019 edition of HBSDealer.

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