Innovative Supply Chain Solutions

Source Atlantic
Written by Jessica Ferlaino

As a leader in supply chain management solutions, Source Atlantic simplifies supply chain-related issues to help its customers. The company offers its customers a multitude of benefits that directly result from its efficient, reliable and profitable supply chain solutions.
Source Atlantic is a single-source wholesale distributor and service provider that serves the needs of the commercial, residential, government and industrial construction markets. This innovator provides first-rate products and services that solve a variety of customer challenges.

The company has established itself as a preferred solutions provider, and its long, rich history has laid the foundation for a bright future. Source Atlantic dates to the time of Canadian Confederation. “Source Atlantic is an evolution of a business that will be 150 years in 2017,” said Steve Drummond, president of Source Atlantic and one of Atlantic Business Magazine’s top fifty CEOs of 2016. “It started as a general store downtown Saint John in 1867, and it has evolved from general store to hardware merchandiser to wholesale distribution.”

“Source Atlantic was born from that original company, and in 2001, we started collecting a number of companies together under the umbrella Source Atlantic. That included distribution plus technical services and just a broader range of products.”

According to Drummond, the company examines the customer’s supply chain and creates a unique solution that can “include anything from pure product delivery to supply chain solutions – that include everything from asset management to procurement, vendor management programs to technical solutions.”

The company has a broader range of products, services and solutions than its competition. Its customized supply chain management packages streamline business processes to lower expenses while cultivating efficiency. The company can do everything from assessment and inventory analysis to the design of more effective warehouse space and the management of inventory, performance and human resources. It also provides welding, plumbing and heating services; can install or repair conveyor belts and rigging; repair, maintain or test valves; service electro-mechanical equipment and much more. It even supplies valve support services to the Canadian Navy.

Source Atlantic has relationships with hundreds of suppliers around the world to bring outstanding products and services to its customers. It is a one stop shop for pipes, valves and fittings, safety, janitorial and industrial supplies, electrical and power transmission components, plumbing and heating parts, specialty valves and instrumentation, welding products, and the list goes on.

It carries everything needed to improve its customers’ efficiency and productivity. The company has the experience, the expertise, the facilities, the equipment and the network of suppliers to support any, and all, customer needs.

As Source Atlantic’s reputation continues to grow, so too does the company. It has sixteen branches throughout the Atlantic provinces and continues to eye markets across Canada and abroad.

“Our primary market location would be Atlantic Canada, but we’ve now brought unique solutions as far as the west coast of Canada through our support for our submarine program and our work with the Canadian Navy,” noted Drummond. “We’ve followed customers down as far as Cuba, and we have supply chains built for that type of unique customer. We have the capability to go to remote sites to manage supply chains, whether it be Northern Canada or anywhere else our customers might travel.”

Source Atlantic is currently identifying opportunities to expand outside of Atlantic Canada to Ontario and western Canada. Driving this is the company’s commitment to innovation, technological advancement and continuous improvement. It has developed an innovative distribution model and is applying that model to explore new markets and new opportunities.

Drummond explained: “As technology penetrates all parts of our lives, it’s made its way into the supply chain as well. So that would be everything from e-commerce to analytics, visibility, along the supply channel of goods. Technology touches us in product development as well.”

Technology has been one of the catalysts of Source Atlantic’s growth. “Another one would be driven from what we sit down and determine [to be] our customer needs. So if a customer has unique needs, we come up with innovative, unique solutions to manage those needs. So technology and our customer needs are the two major drivers.”

The company has gone the great lengths to achieve ISO certification. “We are ISO certified, and we have other specific quality programs depending on the customer’s needs. We will follow their quality processes or quality manual,” Drummond noted.

Source Atlantic has developed an exceptional education program. Drawing from its team of skilled professionals and the expertise of industry-leading experts and institutions, it gives customers an excellent learning management development program designed with customized, individual learning pathways.

“Being a value-added seller, we have to continue to train and educate our own organization on all of our systems processes, so we’ve developed very unique learning management. We’ve invested the time and money both from a tech point of view as well as in-class training and then we have a targeted number of hours that we have working with our people to keep them educated,” Drummond explained.

The company has a team of 390 employees, and the number continues to grow. The continuous training and education of its people are critical to the delivery of its products and services, and employee quality creates a huge difference in terms of customer experience.

“We work very hard on what we call our overall customer experience,” said Drummond. “Customer experience is how the customer is touched by every element of what we do. We’ve worked on what we call competency sets and competency roles for every position in the organization, and we’ve built this training organization to try to meet those competencies.”

Both technical abilities, as well as what Drummond referred to as soft skills, are crucial components of the best overall customer experience. Soft skills have a direct impact on managing customer relationships while understanding each customer’s particular needs.

There is also a commitment to contribute to the local community. The company supports the community in several ways throughout the year by sponsoring multiple charities and events in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

It has proven itself as an industry leader, as a community leader and as an employer. Source Atlantic fosters a work culture that includes employee well-being and assistance programs. These are attractive to skilled and dedicated labour, and so the company has developed a strong team of employees who deliver consistent quality service.

As Drummond noted, “lots of great companies are doing lots of great things, and we’re just trying to draw on what we see as some really great employee management practices out there. We think we have a very forward-thinking learning culture, and we spend a lot of time thinking about the wellbeing of our employees from work environment to training to any benefits programs that we have.”

Source Atlantic’s investment in its technology and people has created success, and Drummond credits his team for much of that. “I think the biggest key has really been the development of my management team who have reached out and explored our supply channel. We look at all our supply channels to see what they are doing to be innovative and what their best practices are. We look outside our industry as well. We search the tech industry – any industry that we can think of that is forward thinking.”

“Our goal and our mission is to be the leader in this industry, in this space – not necessarily the leader in dollar value but certainly the leader in terms of value-added and being an innovator in the marketplace,” stated Drummond.

Drummond believes that the business model ten to fifteen years from now will different from the current one. “What I don’t know is, what that is going to look like. We are constantly searching for what that is, and that’s why we’re building the model – so we can be the people who search and find that answer.”



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