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Grainger Narrows Focus on Its Services, Digital Presence

The industrial supplier will focus on how changes at the company as well service offerings, inventory management systems and digital presence help its customers address complex needs and provide them with documented value.

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With 1.7 million total product offerings, Grainger’s challenge for IMTS is to highlight the 350,000 that apply to those in metalworking. But when serving an industry as broad and complex as metalworking, the company’s wide selection of products and services helps it understand its customers’ needs and provide them with solutions.

According to Director of Metalworking Strategy Brad Laux, understanding the complex needs of metalworking and providing customers with documented value be key to the company’s messaging at the show. Grainger plans to support this by highlighting four aspects of its business:

  1. The company’s evolution. Laux says changes to Grainger’s metalworking business began in 2013 with the launch of its Metalworking Specialist program. That year, it also acquired regional metalworking distributor E&R Industrial. The two companies have remained relatively separate since then, but Grainger now plans to integrate E&R more closely and present a single face to the customer.
  2. Services. Grainger offers a range of services for metalworking customers, including one for tool regrinding in a partnership with US Tool. It also has offerings focused on safety, health and environmental services, including machine guarding and lockout/tagout procedures.
  3. Inventory management. The company has more than 1,000 specialists dedicated to helping customers with inventory management and vending systems. These systems can also be integrated with the company’s tool reconditioning services.
  4. Digital. Laux says that Grainger has the largest industrial website on the internet and the 10th-largest retail website overall, according to Internet Retailer. The company’s goal is to use this platform to provide a full experience, with a knowledge center, services and more. “We want it to be more than a place you come to if you want to buy something,” says Laux. He adds that 56 percent of its sales were driven by e-commerce in 2017, and the numbers are continuing to climb.