Effective Communication

BOC finds success with its Distributor Advisory Council.

For the past 20 years, BOC has considered its Distributor Advisory Council (DAC) one of the most important elements of its relationship with gases and welding distributors.. Not only does it provide BOC a way to introduce new products and services, it also facilitates the all-important networking opportunities between distributor and BOC that allow for an exchange of ideas. Indeed, it is an opportunity for BOC to find out what’s on its customers’ minds. The original council was the National Airco Advisory Board (NDAB). After many years, the DAC became the common name.

The Council is composed of key BOC – ISP executives and independent distributors across the US. BOC tries to select distributors who represent the Distributor Group as a whole. They are selected by geography and by the size of their business. BOC wants to make sure it listens to companies that compete in different markets and vary in market share.

One of the main purposes of the DAC is gaining ideas from our customers. In the 1990s we offered Total Quality Management (TQM) to over 80 percent of our distributors. At a meeting in 2005, DAC members told us to use webinar computer technology to relay industry trends and market conditions to them to help them inform their company personnel. We did it, and it has enhanced our communications to all distributors.

The original idea for the Airco Distributor Association (ADA) came from a DAC meeting over a decade ago. The ADA received BOC’s coveted “Innovation Award” in 1995 as one of the most significant business ideas. The recipients of the award included both distributors and BOC personnel. The ADA, as a matter of fact, is still one of the most successful buying groups in our industry. It probably would not have happened were it not for the exchange of ideas DAC provides.

BOC has been able to offer new products and services to the members of the Council. If the Council membership likes the offer, we proceed. If not, we go back to the drawing board. Generally, about 30 percent of the DAC meeting time is dedicated to addressing the concerns and ideas of distributors. The DAC then relays the information and findings to the whole group.

The networking and social interaction are where the new, and sometimes most exciting, ideas come from. The DAC meets every 6-9 months, depending on the activity in the marketplace.

The DAC enables BOC to continue to improve its distributor program. The meetings allow us to listen to new ideas, communicate new offerings, and network with our best gases and welding customers.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
Meet the Author
Terry Hall is vice president-independent distributor business for BOC, located in Murray Hill, New Jersey, and on the Web at www.boc.com..