Industry Thought Leader: William Delaney

William Delaney, President of Pennsylvania-based Distributor Service, Inc., Says Networking and Communication Are Key to Business Success

William Delaney is the current president of Pennsylvania-based Distributor Service, Inc. The company acts as a regional distributor for more than 150 different product lines, including hardwood plywood, decorative laminates, melamine, particleboard and hardwood lumber. It also offers a line of wood-finishing products, custom stains and complementary lines like solid surface, hardware, adhesives and abrasives. Using its eight national distribution centers, the company distributes products directly to cabinetmakers, millwork shops, the store fixture industry and furniture manufacturers

Delaney has been with his company for more than 40 years. He has been a member of NBMDA for 30 of those years, 15 of which were spent as a member of NBMDA’s Cabinet Industry Distribution Alliance (CIDA) and another 15 years connected to NBMDA’s Specialty Building Products Distribution (SBPD) membership segment. The one-time president of NBMDA has held a number of other positions with the organization, including being vice president and an executive board member. Delaney says his company has been actively involved with every segment of NBMDA since 1998. Before that, Delaney’s father, Jerry, led the business and was involved with the SPBD segment of NBMDA. Delaney says his company’s NBMDA membership has afforded him with networking and relationship opportunities that are invaluable. He also praises the educational aspects of membership.

Networking is what makes NBMDA a great organization to be part of when it comes to dealing with tumultuous economic times and uncertain industry forecasts, Delaney says. Last year was characterized by a continuation of trying to stabilize during a faltering economy, with “disappointment and lack of progress” being the key descriptors.

According to Delaney, the biggest problems currently facing the building material distribution industry are commoditization, the lack of value placed on the manufacturer and distributor and the constant need to give customers the service they expect and to exceed their expectations. Delaney says NBMDA offers continued education programs and speakers to help business owners adapt to changing industry trends, and the networking opportunities it offers let members see how their peers are dealing with hardships. He urges all NBMDA members to network with other members and volunteer for organizational duties. “The networking opportunity begins with getting involved and meeting folks,” Delaney says.

Networking and communication are also critical when interacting with business partners, other distributors and manufactures, says Delaney. “Where the relationship is excellent, both sides are engaged at every level and work for common goals and business plans. Some relationships are undefined and communications break down.” He says his company tenaciously works to understand what the expectations of manufacturers are and to communicate its own expectations. From that communication, the company builds a business plan that “creates strategies to grow market share at all levels.” Following this process, having ample product knowledge, committing to speedy delivery and inventory management and offering product training and education programs to customers all allow Distributor Service, Inc. to rise above its competitors, according to Delaney.

Distributor Service, Inc. plans to keep its edge even as the market changes in the near future. Delaney says certain parts of the industry, such as the wood cabinet sector, would begin to see staffing shortages as fewer young people take over the positions of retirees. He also says import products would continue to pressure the domestic cabinet and millwork industry. To stay abreast of these challenges, Delaney stresses the importance ongoing safety, sales and product training to make his company run as efficiently as possible. He says his company will also invest in new warehouse management technology to achieve greater inventory accuracy and reduce shipping mistakes, leading to greater customer satisfaction and enhanced efficiency.

Recent Stories
Doug Burkhardt Looks to Make Hartson-Kennedy Tops in Countertops and More

NBMDA – The Year in Review

Industrial Fleet Management: The Partner Every Distributor May Want to Have

No Articles Available