For over 60 years, Wolseley Industrial Group has served industrial organizations with quick and reliable access to high quality pipe, valves, and fittings (PVF) and technical product expertise. As a leading supplier of industrial PVF and general MRO products across North America, their customers have come to trust in their experience in offering solutions that deliver results.
Valve World Americas spoke with Jim Sullivan, Divisional Director and Jim Miller, Marketing Manager for Wolseley Industrial Group, to discuss the company’s investment in PVF inventory and service, to being the total solution provider for their customers.
By Sarah Bradley
Wolseley Industrial Group, the industrial division of Ferguson Enterprises, Inc., is one of the largest North American suppliers of pipe, valves and fittings, integrated services and fasteners/OEM, specializing in delivering automation, instrumentation, engineered products and turn-key solutions. With over 170 industrial locations that service all 50 states and all the provinces in Canada, Wolseley’s customers rely on the company to procure, distribute and deliver pipe, valves and fittings to build, maintain and repair infrastructure for industrial facilities across North America. Their customers in engineering, procurement & construction, chemical, pulp & paper, oil & gas, refining, power, manufacturing, mining and food & beverage rely on Wolseley to help mitigate risk, produce cost savings and optimize performance. “We want to position ourselves as part of the solution. We are not just simply a supplier, we are an integral part of the solution to keeping our customers operating,” explained Miller.
“Our North American footprint allows us to provide customers consistent service at a local level. Whether the customer is national, regional or local in nature, we are going to give that same world-class service to every customer,” said Jim Sullivan. “They want us to drive cost out of their system and help reduce their supply chain. We are able to provide all customers the same level of expertise with the warehousing and logistics model that we have in place across the country.”
A Focus on Quality
Wolseley Industrial Group continues to raise the bar for industrial supply capabilities through their quality program. Maintaining a consistent focus on quality allows the company to continuously evaluate their processes for improvement to provide high-quality products and services to their customers. Wolseley Industrial is supported by a well-established quality management system. Many of their industrial locations are certified to the ISO 9001 standard and their Metrology and Material Services (MMS) testing laboratory is certified to the ISO 17025 standard and is ILAC-MRA registered.
“When we think of quality at Wolseley Industrial, we value the three P’s — quality people, quality products and quality processes. We invest heavily in our people — we are always hiring knowledgeable representatives from the industry and investing in college graduates to support our growing business,” Sullivan explained. “We continuously audit our suppliers. We have an Approved Manufacturers List (AML) across Wolseley Industrial Group. We believe our key differentiator on the quality side, is our metallurgical lab. After the audit, we do additional testing on those products to make sure they meet the requirements that the customers expect.”
Wolseley Industrial is focused on building strong relationships and understanding the complexities that challenge their customers. Their skilled team delivers superior customer service with dedicated and detailed product insight and cutting-edge industry expertise. Developing knowledgeable and quality-focused associates strengthens their ability to partner with their customers, offering in-depth product knowledge, problem solving and cost-saving opportunities.
“One of the avenues that we continuously invest in is our talent — the people component is one of our greatest strengths. A customer may have a specific product in mind, but our associates are well diversified in a wide variety of valves and may be able to offer alternate solutions,” Sullivan said. “We can provide recommendations on other products that we think will be the best solution. Representing several manufacturers and not being aligned with any one brand offers a great opportunity to draw on our in-house technical expertise to help find the best solution for that customer.”
“We have made a considerable investment in hiring knowledgeable mechanical and electrical engineers to support our growing valve and automation business. If there is a problem, we want our experienced valve specialists to be able to help troubleshoot,” said Miller. “We gain tremendous expertise by working closely with our supply chain — they are an extension of our team.”
Wolseley’s customers depend on the company’s ability to provide products that perform as expected, which is why they go to great lengths to confirm their suppliers can consistently manufacture products that meet applicable standards. With their approved manufacturer list (AML), customers know they can trust qualified suppliers to produce products that not only conform to industry standards, but the stringent quality parameters that Wolseley Industrial Group sets out for themselves.
“We offer products from leading vendors and are dedicated to meeting customer requirements while minimizing risks and costly delays. Our customers trust us because of the peace of mind we provide through our offering of products that meet strict requirements and safety standards,” Sullivan said.
Wolseley Industrial Group’s AML serves as the cornerstone of their product offering. Their rigorous supplier qualification enables the company to maintain a detailed list of approved manufacturers, manufacturing sites and specific products from qualified suppliers around the world. The AML is continually reviewed, evaluated and updated, enabling Wolseley to promote safe, reliable and conforming products, support multiple industry applications and leverage diverse sourcing options. These independent third-party validations provide added assurance that Wolseley Industrial is delivering consistent and reliable results their customers can depend on, while remaining focused on providing quality products and services, and consistently operating according to their high standards.
“We think it is important to always be trying to improve for the end users. They want reliability and safety. We bring a quality program that we believe is second to none in the industry. There are always new technologies coming out from the valve manufacturers. We want to understand their applications in order to bring these new technologies to those customers, so they can keep their lines up and running,” remarked Sullivan. “They want to reduce their downtime, have more reliability within the plants and obviously be safe at all times. That is where I think our quality assurance program really comes into play.”
The company is committed to getting it right the first time, every time. With quality processes implemented throughout the organization, Wolseley is able to minimize the potential risk of rework and costly delays, providing customers with an unrivalled experience and peace of mind.
“We know how to scale our services based on needs, through our experience gained by working with a wide range of industrial customers. Our commitment to quality people, quality products, and quality processes makes us a true industrial supply partner,” said Miller.
Partnering for Success
With extensive inventory and related services strategically located to better serve their industry partners, Wolseley understands that their success is dependent on the success of their customers. The company is committed to delivering the products their customers need quickly at a competitive price.
“Working with Wolseley as a supply partner means that we can provide consistent pricing. The company inventories products in large quantities to reduce lead times for end users. With some products it might be six months before it becomes available. The value that we bring is that we have over 170 branches and 12 distribution centers across the United States — many of them over a million square feet — and we are able to leverage those facilities to get products to our customers, much of the time within 24 hours. We can provide a consistent cost point and high levels of service on a day-in, day-out basis, no matter where the customer is located,” Sullivan said.
Through maintaining an industry-leading inventory of both commodity and specific application valves in a variety of sizes, materials and pressure classes, Wolseley can anticipate, and meet customers order requirements.
“We are always listening to the needs of all of our customers and we recognize that those needs are different for each customer based on their industry, their turnaround and their outage schedules. We offer solutions to save them money because they, like everyone else, are trying to reduce their bottom line. We want to be an extension of the customer to provide confidence in the products that we supply at a consistent cost point,” said Sullivan. “For instance, if a customer has a turnaround coming up, they may require our support onsite for 90 days to remain on schedule with their product needs. We will bring in additional products to support those turnarounds and we are often able to take the unused product back into inventory. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so we are very flexible based on customer need, but we feel that our vast inventory and technical expertise helps our customers stay competitive.”
Looking to the Future
As a trusted source for PVF and industrial distribution, supply chain services and valve automation, Wolseley Industrial is constantly evolving to meet their customers’ requirements. Recognizing that the key to success is to anticipate their customers’ demands, the company’s tenacity, flexibility and commitment to being at the leading-edge of the valve industry has positively positioned Wolseley Industrial for the future.
“We are approved with large end users that operate globally and they are constantly advancing. To ensure that we are not only satisfying, but exceeding their needs, we have a vast supply chain throughout the world that we rely upon,” said Miller. “We are going to continue to grow organically and acquire companies that can help us deliver additional capabilities and expertise to continue to service our customers in the future.”
“We are going to continue to work closely with our suppliers, train our people, hire industry experts and continue to invest in our operations to make sure we are at the forefront of valve technology for our customers,” concluded Sullivan. “The industry is going to continue to evolve — there is always something new. We are going to continue to provide cutting edge technology, fast reliable service and be a solution provider for our customers and supply partners. We are excited to see what the future brings.”