Buyers Bliss

“Four Corners Welding & Gas Supply has been a member of IWDC for 25 years. Membership gives us the collective buying power of a much larger organization, making us a 600-location company instead of a three-location company. Recently, I was trying to find an unusual rod. I just picked up the phone and called another IWDC member. IWDC is like a family. When we go to meetings, it feels like we are one large company. Well over 80% percent of our total purchases are from suppliers involved with IWDC. We look to GAWDA for information about legislative compliance.”

Amber Chisamore, Vice President
Four Corners Welding & Gas Supply (Gallup, NM)

“Prior to joining a buyers group, competing with the majors always left us perplexed at their pricing. We’d approach our suppliers and ask how they were selling at such low prices. While they told us there were no deals, there were deals for the companies buying product in large volume. We’ve been a member of AIWD since 2008 and now we have the deals. It’s evened the playing field for us as an independent distributor. We can still make a good margin and not be displaced.

Approximately 70% of our purchases are from AIWD suppliers. We have customers that acquire plants in other states, and now that they are larger, they want a national supplier. The biggest challenge for an independent distributor is to maintain our presence and offer competitive pricing. While I rely on GAWDA for regulatory information, the buying group gives us that purchasing power, contract pricing and negotiating opportunity.”

Michael Clay, President
Miller Welding Supply Company (Grand Rapids, MI)

“In order to be competitive in our marketplace, we wanted to make sure we were buying gases as efficiently and economically as possible. We became a member of LDA 25 years ago. About 25-30% percent of Minneapolis Oxygen Company’s suppliers participate in the buying group; and at least 50% of those are our primary suppliers. I like the one-on-one time with various manufacturers and getting to understand their positions. I also like to network with distributors who are facing the same situations I am facing. As co-chair of LDA, I am involved in planning the annual meeting. The primary focus of this meeting is for members and vendors to meet, though we recently began offering more value-added experiences and presenting topics on inventory management, finances, distribution, trucking. We plan on doing more of this. When choosing a topic we look for something that is progressive and will appeal to the bulk of LDA membership.”

Mark Falconer, President
Minneapolis Oxygen Company (Minneapolis, MN)

Gases and Welding Distributors Association