Paul Neustadt on innovation, automation, and supply chain management
“We don’t have a warehouse. We have a distribution center. Warehouses [are where] things go in and they don’t come out...So, again, that’s another thing you don’t say here.” ~Paul Neustadt
As a master distributor of HVAC controls, Neuco, Inc. stakes its reputation on two guiding principles: efficiency and effectiveness. I sat down with the company’s president Paul Neustadt to find out how this third-generation family business manages to innovate while honoring tradition.
“Our family has been in business consistently since 1907,” says Paul. What started over a century ago as horse-drawn fuel, grain, and hay business in Chicago is now one of North America’s largest master distributors, operating out of a brand new 145,000 sq ft facility in Bollingbrook, IL.
What is a master distributor? “Neuco’s model is to fill in the holes.” Say you’ve sold seven items to a job but you’ve only got six and the manufacturer is quoting you four weeks until deliver? Neuco has you covered without you having to look to other brands for fulfilment.
That level of supply chain management takes an investment in customer service and automation. Neuco has always doubled-down on both, taking the time to learn what they don’t know and invest in technology.
Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.
This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.
“As a company, we are very hard on ourselves. Our feeling is, just because we’re doing something one way does not mean that’s the right way to do it.” Paul says the worst thing anyone can say in a meeting is, “Well, that’s because we’ve always done it that way!”
That spirit of always striving, never getting too comfortable with where they’re at, is part of Neuco’s DNA. “The people that came before us challenged themselves when they changed industries. And we challenge ourselves to say: How can we do better? What can we do better? How can we do more?” More for the manufacturer; more for the customer.
For Paul, these aren’t mere transactions Neuco is making on both ends; they’re relationships. Maintaining loyalty means everything from providing knowledgeable technical support across their brand catalog to seamlessly filling an oddball request. To that end, the company’s new facility is state of the art. “The amount of automation that we do...we don’t have robots but we have the picklist,” says Paul. “And, the way we do inventory and the logic that goes into how we inventory, it’s incredible!”
Listen in to find out more about Neuco’s incredible automation and the team-building magic of moving into a new facility.