Top university looks to SKF for best practice in distribution

The Master of Industrial Distribution (MID) programme at Texas A&M University recently sent 41 of its students – all working professionals – on a field trip to SKF’s global headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden. The university chose to study SKF for its knowledge and experience in establishing sustainable partnerships with distributors.

The trip provided an opportunity for the MID students to build on their existing knowledge of the company, which they had gained through their studies and from visiting the SKF Solution Factory in Houston, Texas. A series of workshops and visits to a major customer and a local distributor gave them a complete overview of how SKF and its partners work together at every step in the industrial supply chain.

Dr Barry Lawrence, Director of the Industrial Distribution Program at Texas A&M University, commented: “A strong, expansive distribution network makes SKF a great company for our students to study. There is a lot that we can learn from a company that has been building deep relationships with distributors for over 100 years, and that understands the full potential of manufacturer/distributor partnerships.”

Vartan Vartanian, President, SKF Industrial Market, Regional Sales and Service, said, “I believe that both SKF and Texas A&M University will continue to benefit a great deal from sharing their knowledge with each other. In this fast-changing economy, it is critical that we understand and make the most of the competitive advantages we have. Our long-standing relationship with the university helps us to do that.”

The MID students were impressed with what they saw, pronouncing SKF and its methods “innovative” and “outstanding”.

“The first word I would use to describe SKF is ‘innovative’,” said Steven Dietz, a sales manager. “SKF works hard to be on the cusp, on the brink of something new. The company asks, ‘What could I do to make this more efficient? What could I do to make this more involved? How can I help my distributors to deliver?’ And the fact that SKF is a provider of complete solutions, rather than just a manufacturer – that is innovative in itself.”

Megan McKenzie, a product manager, said, “SKF’s approach helps distributors to become more confident out in the field. It gives them a real differentiator: instead of talking about price, they’re talking about value.”

Justin King, who works in procurement for a major IT company, commented: “SKF’s methods are outstanding. I am impressed by the groundwork that the company has put into its distributor network.”

He added: “I really enjoyed seeing the relationship that SKF has with the customer that we visited – it’s a real partnership. Everything is so streamlined. It’s phenomenal.”

“SKF sells a complete solution. This makes reviewing and looking into SKF very valuable – understanding that they’re providing not just a bearing, but full-on services and solutions.”

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