This will be a posting about firsts: My first video blog (imbedded below), my first McKenzie Distribution Center Open House, and my first trip as part of the McKenzie team, which allowed me to see the inner dynamic of the company, as well as getting to wear one of those snazzy black McKenzie shirts.
On September 8, McKenzie hosted an open house at their newest regional distribution center in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. I was fortunate to be a part of the festivities as well as ten other visiting McKenzie representatives plus the local warehouse staff. It was a great opportunity to get a chance to meet all the taxidermists who came in from the surrounding states. The video below provides a good overview of the day’s activities.
I expected to be impressed by the new facility, but I was really awed by the size and scope of the operation. The place is HUGE. And it is fully stocked with thousands upon thousands of mannikins, supplies, and habitat bases. As a former CEO of a competing supply company, it is amazing to see the scope of the investment in this warehouse. The only way to guarantee there is enough product available to offer same-day shipping is to stock up and invest heavily in merchandise, and McKenzie has done this to the extreme.
As a prior friendly competitor, I can now see why it was so hard in the past for WASCO to keep up with McKenzie. They place such a supreme importance on investing back into the industry with new facilities, new products, and inventory; it is difficult for any one to match their commitment to improving the circumstances of taxidermists. The dedication to customer service that I saw was way beyond my expectations. The entire McKenzie staff makes it their mission to do almost anything to please their customers. And you can tell that this attitude is genuine.
Now that I’m on the inside, so to speak, I can see that the McKenzie philosophy of giving so much back to the industry is not just lip service and slogans, it is deeply ingrained in everything that they do. By constantly striving to increase the level of service, expand the innovation of new products and technology, and improve the ultimate benefit to taxidermists, they are leading the taxidermy profession into the twenty-first century. I am proud to be involved with a company so clearly at the forefront of our industry.
The Bottom Line
What do these five regional distribution centers mean to your bottom line? Where do I begin? The benefits to taxidermists are enormous. Reduced shipping costs and faster delivery times alone can save taxidermists in the two things that are most precious to them: time and money. You can operate on a tighter schedule with smaller inventory knowing you can receive supplies within the next day or two. You can also save money and time by consolidating your vendor orders, making one call to order everything you need instead of several calls with multiple companies.
You can order products from the McKenzie catalog, the WASCO catalog, and the VanDyke’s catalog all together, and you can combine these orders to achieve greater quantity discounts. For the specialty items that are not stocked at all regional distribution centers (like some fiberglass fish blanks or mannikins with special order rod requirements), you can place your order ahead of time and your items will be delivered free of charge to your regional warehouse.
As far as driving to the regional distribution centers to pick up your order, I am surprised that more people don’t take advantage of this. In addition to the obvious benefits—saving on shipping costs, convenience, purchasing large items (like mannikins, habitat, and bases) uncut and intact without any danger of shipping damage—there are other advantages that may not seem as apparent.
You can actually see the products in person to make sure you are getting exactly what you wanted. Many of the new finished habitat products that McKenzie has developed have to be seen up close and personal to be fully appreciated. A flat photo in a catalog or on a website will not do these products justice. When people see them for the first time in person, they are always impressed with the quality and artistry which is only visible in a 3-D view. At any of the McKenzie distribution centers, you can ask to look at any product that you are interested in. A staff member will go and pull the product off the shelf and unpack it for you so you can see exactly what you are getting.
Did I say I was impressed?
The more time I spent and the more interactions I have with the McKenzie staff, the higher my admiration and appreciation for them grows. They are truly a company that cares about taxidermists and they prove it by continuing to invest in this industry like no other before. The amazing logistics involved in operating five giant warehouse inventories all linked to a single operation boggles the mind. This huge investment is propelling our industry forward at a speed that has never been attempted. This is the first time in history that almost all American taxidermists are now within a one-day drive of a fully stocked treasure trove of taxidermy supplies and equipment.