Unique Supply Chain Management at Motor City Industrial
Joe Stephens, CEO at Motor Industrial, shares his company’s history, present, and plans.
Bob Puskas senior founded Motor City Fasteners, Inc. in 1966 after leaving his job as a salesman for another fastener company. The company Bob was working for would not provide him health care, which left him feeling unappreciated. Over several decades, Bob Sr. and Bob Jr. built the company up steadily.
Bob Puskas’ son, Bob Jr, bought the company in the ‘90s.
Growth Through Acquisitions
In July of 2015, Bob Jr. decided to continue growing and creating opportunities for his employees; he needed to sell to someone who could scale it up faster. Motor City Fasteners, LLC was founded in 2015 following the acquisition of Motor City Fasteners, Inc. from Robert Puskas Jr.
Since that event, the company has made three add-on acquisitions, covers twenty states, and over 10,000 customers east of the Mississippi.
Motor City Industrial is Unique
When asked what makes Motor City Industrial unique, Joe tells me,
“MCF is very similar to other privately held distributors. We have long employee tenure and hold onto our people. Because of this, we have a high technical aptitude for the products we sell and can provide our customers with product selection help. We also have a deep local inventory and can serve our customers the same day. These characteristics are common among our peers as well.
What is unique is that we have also combined supply chain technology to a high service market presence. Our Crib Boss supply chain management machines allow us to track our customers’ consumption and provide them business intelligence on how they are using their product, where they are using it and make suggestions on improving their purchases. It allows us to show them where bottlenecks exist in their supply chain rather than tell them. We believe that combining product expertise, local inventory, and best-in-class technology will help our customers operate more efficiently. It’s our job as a supplier to make them better, not just sell them parts.”
Crib Boss Smart Inventory System Crib Boss is a proprietary brand of Motor City Industrial.
- Automated, Efficient and Lean – Each bin automatically detects restock levels and sends real-time replenishment alerts, eliminating the need for manual counting
- Flexible Configurations – From assembly cells to large deployments, create the ideal solution by selecting shelf number, spacing and bin sizes.
- Bright Lighting – Interior LED lights keep bin contents visible to ensure quick item selection with no surprises.
- Easy Replenishment – Restock in established quantities, full packages, boxes or Kanban lots.
- Fast and Easy Setup – Designed for quick assembly and same-day set-up – no complicated pre- implementation process or lengthy product testing. Just three simple steps –assemble, connect, teach – it’s that easy.
- Your Supply Chain Talks To You – Smarter Spaces™technology eliminates the tags, flags and cards of manual monitoring with proactive restock and reorder alerts right to your ERP.
- Keep Lines Up And Running – Real-time replenishment alerts and automated ordering put an end to stock-outs and emergency orders – and keep everyone working.
- Visualize Your Supply Chain – With Trajectory Cloud™Business Intelligence tools, you can view real- time information and see changes in usage patterns, consumption trends, productivity and more.
Ideal Customer Profile
Joe describes his ideal customer as an American manufacturer. He says, “They are our target. If you are producing products in the US, you are competing with the world. MCI is focused on being a partner to the American manufacturer and providing them supply chain data that not only makes them more efficient but also makes them more competitive in the global marketplace. Our associates go to work every day, knowing that it is our job to make American manufacturers more competitive worldwide.”
Joe considers Motor City Industrial to be a partner of the independent fastener distributor. He continues, “We like what they do. We like how they operate, and we believe that long employee tenure, technical aptitude, and local inventory are the secret sauce. We have purchased independent distributors and will continue to purchase them, knowing that they have held onto their market share for decades by providing good service to their customers. The most significant change has been providing them with technology tools like CribBoss to put them on equal footing with National competitors.”
A Changing World
As the world continues to change, Joe is quick to change with it. “As the market changes, we need to change with it. Supply chains are becoming more sophisticated, and we need to change with them to keep up. Our customers deserve the latest technologies, and quite frankly, they need them to operate in today’s environment.”
Joe explains what they are doing to continue to give their customers what they need. “The most significant challenges came internally in our IT systems. The market wants technology and data; we all know that. To make that kind of hard-pivot, we needed to exert significant effort in integrating our systems and training our people. Integration is difficult for any company but trying to do it without the right ERP provider is impossible. Our partner, Computer Insights Inc, has helped us automate our back-office systems, integrate our customer-facing technologies, and ultimately take a solution to market that wouldn’t have been possible without them. They have supported us with custom programming, employee training, and a sincere interest in what we are doing as a company. You cannot succeed while shifting your company’s strategy without partners. Not the word partner as so many vendors are using it; we needed the actual work of a partnership, and Computer Insights provides us that.”
Worldwide, everyone has been affected in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. I asked Joe about the impact it has had on Motor City Industrial. He replied, “COVID-19 has been challenging. As luck would have it, our transformation to supply chain technology providers and our low vendor contact systems have put us in a strategically superior position. Our customers can get their products from our CribBoss machines with little to no service tech interaction, and it has helped them control the spread of the virus. We are uniquely positioned to provide the best low contact disbursement system to the market.”
This article appeared in Distributor’s Link Magazine, Winter 2021
For More Information
Motor City Industrial
1600 East 10 Mile Road
Hazel Park, MI 48030
Computer Insights, Inc.
108 Third Street
Bloomingdale, IL 60108-2912