West Point Rack keeps the customer happy
There is a key component to West Point Rack’s business philosophy – focus on Material handling dealers. Terry Sroka. CEO of Omaha, Neb.-based West Point Rack, believes that selling direct to the end user will only create problems. “If you want to sell direct, go ahead and sell direct. If you are in the business to service dealers, then service dealers, you can’t do both,” he said. “Our primary goal is to support our dealers, earn their trust, and become their vendor of choice for racking products.”
This year, West Point Rack marks 10 years in business. It has been a decade marked with some difficulty, as some of West Point’s clients have struggled with the poor economic conditions in the wake of the recession. “It was tough for some of our customers, a few did not make it through” said Sroka referring to the years 2007, 2008, and 2009. West Point Rack, though, added customers and expanded markets contributing to growth during this period.
Today, West Point is headquartered in Omaha with the main plant in West Point, Neb. It also has warehousing and manufacturing in Chicago. The business offers a full line of light duty, intermediate duty, heavy duty and extra heavy duty cantilever racks, as shown on the company’s web site. In addition, West Point provides multiple configurations of stacking racks, structural pallet racks and specialty products like bar cradle trucks, drum racks and miscellaneous handling equipment.
There is a certain amount of uniformity within the industry, but Sroka said what sets West Point Rack apart is customer service. From issuing quotes quickly, to delivery, to dealing with concerns after the sale, Sroka said the goal is to keep the customer happy and keep them coming back. “If you ignore their issues, they’ll go elsewhere,” he said.
What will the company’s next decade bring? “A lot has to do with manufacturing in the US. Is it going to grow? So much is done out of the country.” Sroka said. “We’re tied to the GDP in that respect. If the economy is going good, so are we.” A poor economy leads to slowing activity, which Sroka said leads to a “lot of empty racks.” Last month, the Commerce Department reported that the GDP expanded by 2.2% in the final month of 2014. It represents a slowdown from the 5% pace of the third quarter, which Market Watch reported as the fastest US growth in 11 years. But the business news site also reported that economists expect the US to top 3% annual growth in 2015.
Conditions have improved in recent years, although Sroka said that West Point’s customers in the oil supply chain are somewhat struggling do to the current low prices. Fortunately other sectors of West Point Racks business have shown positive gains.
Whatever conditions the next years bring, Sroka is confident that West Point Rack will continue to succeed. “Everything has a cycle. You have to have the tenacity and the wherewithal to ride them out.”
Eileen Schmidt is a freelance writer and journalist based in the Greater Milwaukee area. She has written for print and online publications for the past 12 years. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit eileenmozinskischmidt.wordpress.com to contact Eileen.