The Hillman Group
Issue Jan Feb 15
Fifty years in business is a milestone that few companies are fortunate enough to reach, but for The Hillman Group the fact that it marked its 50th anniversary in 2014 is proof enough that it has found the winning formula for serving the hardware and home improvement industries. And, like the screws and other fasteners that established its reputation, The Hillman Group says its customer service, quality and innovation are what have held the company together and allowed it to grow into the market leader it is today.
The company was established in 1964 with a focus on manufacturing screws and other fasteners for hardware stores. However, as the years rolled on, The Hillman Group evolved into a more rounded and diverse supplier for a broad selection of customers in the hardware and home improvement sectors. “While Hillman was founded as a fastener company, we have branched out into a diverse entity, serving the consumers’ everyday needs with common products for commercial and residential uses, as well as offering service and merchandising aids,” the company says.
Fasteners still make up a substantial portion of the company’s business, but The Hillman Group’s product lines also feature more than 40,000 SKUs that include keys, engraving and letters, numbers and signs for homes and commercial uses. The company’s customer base is made up of more than 21,000 retailers, and includes major companies such as Ace Hardware, Lowe’s, Home Depot and True Value. “Hillman is the respected global leader and most trusted partner to the markets we serve, delivering value-added and innovative solutions,” the company says. “The Hillman Group is dedicated to helping our partners succeed by managing their complex product categories while enhancing the consumer experience. We provide best-in-class service, innovation, quality and unique merchandising solutions. Our team continually improves internal efficiency, increasing speed to market while remaining flexible in the eyes of our partners.”
The Hillman Group’s devotion to quality and service is strong no matter whether the company is dealing with a big-box retailer or one of the 15,000 independent or franchise retailers that make up its customer base. The company explains that these smaller retailers typically are part of cooperatives like Ace Hardware or Do It Best Corp. “The company sells directly to the cooperative’s retail locations and also supplies many fastener items to the cooperative’s central warehouses,” the company says. “These central warehouses distribute to their members that do not have a requirement for Hillman’s in-store service. These arrangements reduce risk, credit and logistic expense for Hillman and reduce central warehouse inventory and delivery costs for the cooperatives.”
One of the strongest advantages The Hillman Group says it brings to the marketplace is its dedicated salesforce and service organization. “As a company, service is the hallmark of The Hillman Group,” the company explains. “The company employs the largest factory direct salesforce in today’s industry.
“The depth of the sales and service team enables Hillman to maintain consistent call cycles, ensuring that all of their customers will experience proper stock levels and inventory turns,” the company continues. “This team can also build specific planograms to fit the needs of any store, as well as customizing programs that will meet consumers’ requirements for pricing, invoicing and computer needs. This unique group also benefits from daily internal support from the inside sales and customer service teams.
“We have a solid group of professionals whose dedication and teamwork form the backbone of our company,” the company adds. “Hillman continually strives to hire associates that meet our standards for interpersonal skills and strong work ethic.”
Also providing The Hillman Group with considerable strength in the marketplace is its infrastructure, which consists of 11 manufacturing and distribution facilities that are strategically located throughout North America, including Mexico. “These facilities combined can accommodate over 5,000 orders and 225,000 lines per day,” the company says. “Hillman has a 24-hour process time from order receipt to product shipment with a 97 percent fill rate.”
Within these production and distribution centers, The Hillman Group has the capability to introduce a significant amount of innovation into the marketplace, and it does so regularly.
“Whether in distribution, key duplication, or sales and service, The Hillman Group is known for innovation,” the company says. “Many of Hillman’s distribution centers employ the very latest in warehouse management systems software, allowing paperless order picking. The technology used to engineer our Axxess Key Duplication System has revolutionized the metal key duplication process, giving consumers a virtually foolproof system. Our sales and service teams are equipped with the best technology for taking, tracking and transporting customer orders.”