Young woman takes photos of product
Millennium Distribution has a sophisticated online presence. Here, Sarah Stephens, e-commerce content specialist, takes product photos for the company website Brandis Bowen

Although foodservice has been Millennium’s core competency for many years, Knoll is looking to increase its mix, doubling the company’s existing business in the jan/san market to approximately 40 percent. Millennium started out by serving local customers but has since expanded to service larger customers in new regions.

“Our goal is to continue to expand our footprint strategically where it makes sense,” says Knoll. “Our presence in the Southwest is strong, and we also have major anchor accounts taking us into California and the Midwest.”

Millennium prides itself on its flexibility and responsiveness to its customers’ needs. Rather than providing a specific product set, Millennium representatives work with their customers to provide customized solutions. The process starts by listening to the customer and providing excellent service.

“As an organization, we are fanatical about service,” says Jacob Willis, director of sales for Millennium. “We put great emphasis on building, maintaining and growing our partnerships with our customers and our manufacturers.”

Technology is a key to that service solution and is used extensively in its operations to expedite processes — and save money. For example, using barcode scanners during deliveries have resulted in a significant time savings over manual receiving processes. If a customer doesn’t have the technology in place, Millennium works with them to introduce it and transition their processes.

On the sales side, Millennium has built a robust e-commerce platform with search capabilities comparable to other big-box online retailers, such as Amazon Business or Staples. It’s this platform that really appealed to Horn and the Dixie Paper team. Millennium also recently hired a director of e-commerce marketing who is leading the effort to organically grow customers online through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). So if someone in Tyler, Texas, is looking for a mop head, Millennium pays Google to appear first in the search results for those keywords. 

“The online platform allows us to provide a wealth of product information and tools to help them with the convenience of 24/7 online ordering,” says Brandis Bowen, director of e-commerce marketing. “We’re really listening to our customers and working to make running their business a smoother process.”

Once someone places an order sourced through an online search, Millennium sales representatives can approach that customer to cross-sell other solutions to improve their business.

“If we want to go into a certain area, we use SEO and SEM to target customers in those areas,” says Knoll. “We’re not going to try and target someone in New York, but someone in our backyard or down the street. When someone purchases a product from us, it will come off our truck with our name or Dixie’s name on the side — it’s not delivered by UPS. We try our best to give the customer that hometown feel, so they know they are buying local.”

It’s this solution — an easy-to-use platform with a competitively priced product provided by a local company — that Knoll feels will allow smaller distributors to be competitive against large e-tailers. 

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