NFPA Staff Visits Alro Steel

Alro LogoA couple weeks ago, I visited Alro Steel in Bolingbrook, Illinois, to meet with Chuck Rigali.  Chuck is Alro’s Fluid Power Product Manager and has been active with NFPA for a number of years.

The visit gave me a new perspective on NFPA’s supplier members.  We often think of supplier members as competing amongst themselves for the attention of other NFPA members.  But the business relationships among supplier members are more complex, with some serving as customers of one another, as intermediaries, and sometimes competitors, all at the same time.  As a distributor and processor of steel and aluminum products, Alro Steel occupies a space in the supply chain between some of the producers and the fluid power components and systems manufacturers.

But this wasn’t a typical trip to see a member…it was prompted by a conversation Chuck and I had at the NFPA Annual Conference back in March.  I had mentioned my son Jon’s plan to pursue a business degree with emphasis on supply chain management and logistics when he goes off to Ohio State this fall.  Chuck encouraged me to bring Jon along for the learning experience.

For Jon, it was an opportunity to see first-hand the central importance of supply chain management and logistics at a company that competes based on a promise of rapid turnaround from order to delivery, and how competing in a “products” industry isn’t just about selling and moving product, it’s offering additional value.  Alro provides vendor managed inventory services, and has expertise focused on purchasing the right amount at the right time, and at the right price and terms.

Chuck uses data from NFPA’s statistical programs to help with his planning for the fluid power market, and we appreciate Alro’s sponsorship support for the upcoming Industry & Economic Outlook Conference. 

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