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News Archives


October 10, 2011

Case study: Fast growth drives distributor to make culture a more formal part of strategy
By Nissa LaPoint

Womack Machine Supply’s plans for rapid growth may mean the company’s traditionally close culture will change over time. CEO Mike Rowlett decided he wanted to work to make sure Womack remained a positive place to work despite its growth. He appointed a Vice President of Culture and pushed forward initiatives to make culture a more formal part of the distributor’s plans.

Company: Womack Machine Supply
Headquarters: Farmers Branch, TX
Leadership: CEO Mike Rowlett
2010 Revenues: $134 million, up 7.2%
Details: Womack Machine Supply is an industrial distributor of supplies and components for hydraulic, pneumatic and automation control systems. It is No. 36 on MDM’s list of the Top 40 Industrial Distributors.

Near his office sits one of CEO Mike Rowlett’s most important pieces of office equipment: an ice cream machine, which he purchased when he bought Texas-based Womack Machine Supply in 2006.

The ice cream machine along with the ping pong table and basketball hoop are not for him, but rather for employees at the industrial distributor of supplies and components for hydraulic, pneumatic, and automation control systems.

“I’ve never seen anyone eating ice cream that wasn’t smiling,” Rowlett says.

Besides the in-house entertainment, the company holds celebrations for birthdays and achievements, frequent potlucks and provides monetary support for employees’ volunteer efforts. It’s all part of Rowlett’s philosophy to maintain an enjoyable, respectful and giving culture.

“Other than sleep, people are spending the largest part of their life in work, and they need to enjoy being there,” Rowlett says. “What our culture is about is looking for an opportunity to celebrate something and looking for an opportunity to help to people...We believe strongly that if a company takes care of people, then the employees will take care of the customer, supplier and business.”

This kind of culture is “a human resources professional’s dream,” says Kimberly Sudderth, vice president of human resources. The respect and care given to employees attracts other quality employees while reducing turnover, she says.

Womack’s focus on its employees is fostered by its Vice President of Culture, Rodney Bryan, who spends most of his time meeting with every employee privately at least once a year to gather feedback.

The position was formed in 2008 as part of Womack’s strategic plan to grow the business from $84 million in revenue at that time to $340 million in 2018, Rowlett says.

“In looking at that we realized we were going to have to add a lot of people and acquire lots of companies, and we wanted to make sure our company kept a close family culture,” he says. “Rodney’s job is to make sure everybody in the company feels that they’re important and that their concerns and ideas are heard and acted on.”

Maintaining the culture over distances between locations requires the participation of all employees, who are often screened before they are hired for compatible qualities and values. Management is also encouraged to follow the universal Golden Rule.

“You cannot be a leader or manage in this company unless you have selfless attitude,” Rowlett says.

In November 2009, business dropped and the company laid-off 40 of its 300 employees, Rowlett says. Bryan conducted what he called “culture visits,” at a time when many people were expressing fear and uncertainty about the future.

Yet employees were reporting confidence in the company, and – in perhaps the biggest indication of the culture Womack has built – a few employees who were laid-off still participated with the company in the annual Muscular Dystrophy Walk-a-thon, Bryan says. Several employees were later hired back once business improved, he says.

“We didn’t put the Golden Rule in place and talk about it as a competitive advantage, but it turns out it is one because that type of culture improves employee morale, it reduces turnover, it helps us work better as a team and, you know what, work can be fun,” Bryan says.

Bryan continues to conduct culture visits at the company’s headquarters. He also travels to different company locations for three to five days and meets with employees to ask: “How are you doing? What do you like? What are you concerned about? Do you have any questions?”

From the overjoyed comments to the not-so-positive, Bryan takes notes during the 30- to 45-minute private interviews and puts the anonymous feedback into a report. Rowlett and the executive staff review the report and take steps to continue to emphasize the positive and correct the negative, he says.

In addition to his regular visits to existing locations, Bryan spends extra time at a company once Womack acquires it. “There has to be a face there and a smile,” Rowlett says. “He’s there to take care of the people and help them run through the growth.”

It’s an effort that requires consistent work to maintain and the buy-in of management and employees. And it’s the kind of culture that Jimmy Vitulli, an outside salesman at the company’s Texas location, finds rewarding.

“It feels good working for a company that you know is not just a selfish company, that serves a bigger purpose,” Vitulli says. “No company is perfect, but when you know people have integrity, it makes work more enjoyable. I love the people I work with. They’re friends, and they’re people I look up to.”

One of the company’s most significant culture aspects is its spirit of giving, Rowlett says. Womack has supported a variety of employees’ local and international non-profit and volunteer efforts, including giving additional funding for Vitulli’s three trips with Living Water International, an organization that drills water wells in poor countries, and Africa New Life Ministries in Rwanda, which sponsors, educates and teaches the Bible to families.

Womack will match an employee’s donation, usually between $100 to $1,000 per volunteer, for a cause they are actively involved in, Bryan says.

The company has also supported employee Tory Gundersen with the Wounded Warriors Project and Scott Van Otten with the Ride for Life event benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

All in all, it’s a company culture that is sustaining and personally edifying, Vitulli says.

“It makes a difference when times are hard,” Vitulli says. “I feel like I enjoy my job a lot more than my friends do.”


Sep 06, 2011

Modern Distribution Management Names Womack Machine Supply a 2011 MDM Market Leader

Womack Machine Supply Co. has been ranked #36 on Modern Distribution Management's 2011 Industrial Market Leaders list. This list identifies the top 40 distributors by revenue in industrial distribution. Modern Distribution Management is the leading information source for independent distribution channels.

"The top distributors continued to gain market share in 2011, many returning to sales levels seen before 2009. While there are still headwinds, distributors that appear on MDM's Market Leaders lists continue to execute a successful strategy to give them an edge in the recovery," said Tom Gale, publisher of Modern Distribution Management.

The list was released in conjunction with the 2011 MDM Distribution Landscape report. Taken together, the full report provides a comprehensive landscape of the distribution industry, including merger and acquisition news and market trends. It is available at www.mdm.com/marketleaders.

Data was collected from the companies, public filings and news releases. For private companies who did not provide their revenue data, the MDM editorial staff estimated rankings based on past reported revenues, average revenue declines within the sectors, data from economic reports and conversations with industry experts.

Modern Distribution Management (www.mdm.com) is a specialized information service for wholesale distribution executives and companies that sell through independent distribution. Through its twice-monthly premium newsletter, free e-newsletters, Webcasts, and breaking news and blog feeds at mdm.com, MDM provides fresh analysis, accurate reporting and business intelligence across many lines of trade.


Apr 14, 2010

Offshore Technology Conference 2010 • 3-6 May • Reliant Park • Houston, Texas

Founded in 1969, the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) is the world’s foremost event for the development of offshore resources in the fields of drilling, exploration, production, and environmental protection.


Each year, OTC attracts more than 60,000 attendees and 2,000 exhibiting companies representing more than 110 countries.

Stop by our booth #1453 at Reliant Center and visit with manufacturer's representatives from Bosch Rexroth, Hydac, and many others. Our knowledgeable and friendly sales professionals are eager to meet you, and help solve your application, design or supply chain challenges.


Houston office relocated to new facility

Effective December 13, 2009;

The Associates of Womack Machine Supply Company in Houston, Texas are pleased to announce our relocation to a newer, larger facility, effective December 13, 2009.

New address is:

Womack Machine Supply Company

7807 Bluff Point Drive

Suite 140

Houston, Texas 77086-1786

Phone: 713-956-6400

Fax: 281-377-8591


Oct 05, 2009

Womack Systems Division passed ISO9001:2000 Surveillance Audit

We are pleased to announce that Womack Systems LLC, a Womack Company, passed its first ISO9001:2000 Surveillance Audit today with flying colors. John Martinez, 3rd party auditor from BSI, provided very positive feedback regarding the "Customer Focus and Quality Culture" and the maturity of the Business/Quality Management System he observed. He mentioned that in some areas Womack Systems is five to six years ahead of what he usually sees in other companies. He recognized the excellence of the processes which center around CAPA, Continuous Improvement, Customer Feedback, Customer Satisfaction, and the Womack Systems University.

"Most companies struggle after their 'big push' to get certified to maintain their Quality Management System" says Claus Wissler, GM & VP for Womack Systems. "I am very delighted to hear from an independent party that Womack Systems improved in areas I view as very critical. Quality in NOT a procedure, Quality is a mind-set".


Sept. 1, 2009

Womack Machine Supply Announces New CFO

Kenny Talley became Chief Financial Officer of Womack Machine Supply Co. which serves 18 States including Texas, Utah, Montana, Alabama and California, announced Mike Rowlett, Chief Executive Officer. 

 “I’m honored to have the opportunity to join the world-class financial group within the Womack Companies,” Talley said. “This is a great company with a wonderful operating team.”

Prior to joining Womack Machine Supply, Talley began his career with Ernst & Ernst, currently Ernst & Young. Throughout his career he has held Controller and CFO positions.  Kenny spent 7 years as CFO for Estes, Incorporated - an agricultural distribution company which grew from $75 million in revenue to almost $200 million during that time. Over the last several years, he has worked as a consultant, assisting clients with financial management, acquisitions, systems integration and special projects. Mr. Talley holds a BBA in Accounting from Texas Tech University.


April 28, 2009

Womack Systems Division is Certified to the ISO9001:2000 Quality Management System Standard.

We are happy to announce that Womack Systems LLC, a Womack Company, successfully passed its final audit to become certified to the ISO9001:2000 Quality Management System Standard. The company started its journey towards certification two years ago and implemented a whole series of new Business Processes, Procedures, Work Instructions, and Process Controls.

“This is a milestone for us on our continuous journey towards becoming a World Class Operation. Our goal is to be recognized in our Industry as a Leader for Operational Excellence, Outstanding Customer Service, and Competitive Turn-Key Solutions” says Claus Wissler, VP & GM for Womack Systems.

About Womack Systems LLC:

Womack Systems is a turn-key Solutions Provider for Fluid Power and Automation Systems and operates out of three facilities: Dallas, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake City. Products and Services range from Standards Industrial Power Units, Custom Power Units, Electrical Control Panels, Hydraulic Hose Assemblies, and Aluminum Structural Profile Assemblies to Automation Systems, which are used in various Industries around the globe. Womack Systems also provides Service and Repair services out of Salt Lake City.

About Womack Machine Supply:

Womack Machine Supply is a 50 + year old Industrial Distributor of Hydraulic, Pneumatic and Automation Equipment with corporate offices located in Farmers Branch, Texas.  Womack represents some of the world’s leading manufacturers of fluid power and industrial control products, and maintains one of the largest inventories in the South and West in conveniently located Regional Service Centers.  Womack Companies supply individual components and complete systems to Customers in every industry from Energy, Agriculture, and Construction, to Defense.


 

May 1, 2008

Womack Machine Supply Announces the Asset Acquisition of Applied International Motion

Double Rocker Holdings, Inc., parent company of Womack Machine Supply Company (WMSCo) today announced it has completed the asset acquisition of California based Applied International Motion, LLC. Financial details were not disclosed. 

“This purchase continues Double Rocker’s diversification into new products and markets.”  Said Mike Rowlett, Chief Executive Officer of Womack Machine Supply “In announcing this geographic expansion, we celebrate the employees of all Double Rocker and Womack Companies.  It is their hard work, dedication and optimism that makes this possible.” 

Applied International Motion (dba AIM) was founded by Jack and Maureen Thomas in 1987.  They distribute some of the same product lines as other Womack companies and are renowned for building sophisticated motion control systems.  Industries which they serve include semiconductor, medical, defense, packaging, machine tools and general automation for a broad range of manufacturing.

The addition of AIM allows Womack Machine Supply to sell and service Factory Automation products and Motion Control systems in California and Nevada. 

About Womack Machine Supply:

Womack Machine Supply is a 50 + year old Industrial Distributor of Hydraulic, Pneumatic and Automation Equipment with corporate offices located in Farmers Branch, Texas.  Womack represents some of the world’s leading manufacturers of fluid power and industrial control products, and maintains one of the largest inventories in the South and West in conveniently located Regional Service Centers.  Womack Companies supply individual components and complete systems to Customers in every industry from Energy, Agriculture, and Construction, to Defense. 


Nov. 1, 2007

Womack Machine Supply Announces the Acquisition of Interstate Hydraulics

Double Rocker Holdings, Inc., parent company of Womack Machine Supply Company (WMSCo) today announced it has completed the acquisition of Salt Lake City, Utah based Interstate Hydraulics, Inc. Financial details were not disclosed.

“This is a great moment for Womack Machine Supply as we continue our diversification and growth into new markets and adjacent states.” said Mike Rowlett, Chief Executive Officer of Womack Machine Supply. “Today, we increased our total number of employees to 260 + by welcoming the talented new associates from Interstate Hydraulics, individuals who know their marketplace and products, and who already have existing Customer relationships, into the Womack family.”

Interstate Hydraulics (dba Interstate Technologies) was founded by Steve & Kathy Postma in 1981. They distribute many of the same product lines as Womack (BRH, BRP, BRC, Hydac, Auburn Gear, Haldex Barnes, and Thermal Transfer) and operate a hydraulic repair center in Salt Lake City. The industries they serve include metals, mining, motor vehicle parts, material handling, farm machinery, construction machinery, oil & gas equipment, logging and general manufacturing. Mr. Postma will continue to serve as President of Womack – West and lead the business until January 2010.

The addition of IHI allows Womack Machine Supply to expand its distribution and service of Fluid Power and Automation products into Utah, Arizona, Nevada and most of Idaho.

About Womack Machine Supply:

Womack Machine Supply is a 50 + year old Industrial Distributor of Hydraulic, Pneumatic and Automation Equipment with corporate offices located in the Dallas, Texas area. Womack represents some of the world’s leading manufacturers of fluid power and industrial control products, and maintains one of the largest inventories in the South and Southwest in conveniently located Regional Service Centers. Womack Companies supply individual components and complete systems to Customers in every industry from Energy, Agriculture, and Construction, to Defense.

 

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