Here’s How MRO Distributor Kimball Midwest Has Handled COVID-19

Kimball Midwest, a national industrial distributor based in Columbus, OH, has continued to effectively serve its customers around the country despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MRO products distributor, which services its end-use customers through a team of more than 1,000 sales representatives who serve their communities around the United States, has never laid off associates during previous economic downturns. That’s a record the company intends to maintain during COVID-19, according to president and CEO Pat McCurdy. 

“One of our core values is that we are a people business,” he said. “That means we strive to treat our people and our customers the right way, especially during challenging times. That’s why we’re doing everything we can to support our associates, whether they work in our offices, our distribution centers or directly with our customers from coast to coast.” 

As the pandemic developed, Kimball Midwest took many steps to help protect the health and safety of its associates and customers while also maintaining operations. Among other things, the company: 

  • Restricted all non-essential business travel though at least May 31.
  • Transitioned more than 95% of office associates to remote work through at least May 31.
  • Completed a virucide cleaning of all office and distribution center locations.
  • Implemented aggressive physical distancing requirements in the distribution centers, including split shifts to reduce the number of associates working at one time.
  • Sent hand sanitizer and gloves to all sales representatives.
  • Aggressively sourced hand sanitizer, disinfectant and other products in high demand during the pandemic.
  • Executed email campaigns and phone support to help promote online sales activity.
  • Provided additional promotional programs to help our sales team and end-use customers.
  • Developed a dedicated page on its internal website to compile all pandemic-related information and updates in one place.
  • Adapted its Annual Sales Meeting, which had been scheduled in Dallas in early April, to a virtual online recorded event. 

As a vital supply chain partner to thousands of essential businesses, Kimball Midwest was able to maintain a solid sales volume through March and April, and sales numbers were looking even stronger in the first half of May as many businesses moved closer to normal operations. 

“Everyone in the organization is focused on how we can support our customers and sales team during this challenging time,” McCurdy said. “We are confident in our ability to remain a trusted, essential business partner through the pandemic.” 

At the end of each of his weekly videos to update the company’s associates around the country, McCurdy emphasizes his confidence in the Kimball Midwest team, saying “We have faith in our people, we have faith in our country and we have faith in you!” 

Kimball Midwest is a family-owned, national distributor of MRO products that has been providing superior products and superior service since 1923. Eighty percent of the company’s inventory spend goes to products made in the US. The company services sales representatives and end-use customers from its corporate office and distribution center in Columbus, OH, and distribution centers strategically located in Dallas, TX; Reno, NV; and Savannah, GA. 

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