Ferguson Industrial: Transitioning Through Innovation

FEATURED STORY Ferguson Industrial: Transitioning Through Innovation

After years of living under the same umbrella, on March 15th, 2022, Wolseley Industrial Group become Ferguson Industrial. The name change is a strategic shift to maintain the company’s strong growth trajectory while continuing to serve its customers and manufacturers as a trusted partner. The benefit of the transition for Ferguson Industrial and its partners is growth. For the company to be looking ahead, especially in tough times like these, is truly exciting.

Valve World Americas had the pleasure of speaking with Daniel Hogge, Vice President of the Industrial customer group; Jim Sullivan, Divisional Director; Casey Legge, Communications; and Jim Miller, Marketing Manager; who discussed four key focus areas of the Ferguson Industrial rebranding: the brand transition, the Ferguson difference, innovations, and new ventures, and brand loyalty to its customers.

By Angelica Pajkovic

Wolseley Industrial Group had been part of Ferguson since its beginning in 2007. Now, as Ferguson Industrial, it is the same company customers have come to rely on for the procurement and distribution of PVF. With the same people, the same product expertise, the same exceptional quality, and safety standards, it provides the same best-in-class service experience with the “national reach, local focus” on which it built its reputation.

The name change will transform Ferguson Industrial from one of the nation’s largest and most diversified industrial supplier to an even bigger, better, more powerful player in the field. It will be very much “business as usual” for Ferguson Industrial — but even better. Because with the new name comes new opportunities. As Ferguson Industrial, the company is positioned to make an even larger impact in the industry and continue raising the bar on the service, safety, and quality for which it is known.

A Seamless Transition

For many businesses, a rebranding is quite a daunting task, but for Ferguson Industrial, it is the natural next step for the company, its associates, customers, manufacturers, and vendors. Ferguson is approaching its 70th anniversary, and has been a part of Wolseley PLC for over 40 years. By 2017, Ferguson had become the most significant brand in the Wolseley portfolio, accounting for over 80% of the group’s profitability. The decision was made to change the name to Ferguson PLC in recognition of that performance. According to Hogge, “we had eclipsed our parent company and we were tremendously proud of that success.”

Having built such a strong global reputation for customer satisfaction, some may naturally ask the question: Will transitioning from the name Wolseley Industrial Group to Ferguson Industrial affect brand recognition? So far the response is pointing to a positive reception for the new name. Ferguson has already heard back from several of its largest customers, and the response to the rebrand has been unanimous: ‘We are surprised it took you so long to do this.’

“The industrial team within Ferguson is all about its people, and it has been no surprise that we have been a part of Ferguson Enterprises over the years,” said Hogge. This fact makes the transition that much smoother for customers who are already aware of the Wolseley and Ferguson connection.

Ferguson Industrial’s rebranding is a positive step for its manufacturers, its customers, and for its associates.

Ferguson is committed to simplicity and alignment within its brand, and this translates to consistency and reliability. Ferguson proudly refers to its associates as ‘the tip of the spear.’ “They will always be the tip of the spear, and Ferguson will continue to invest in, and support them, through training and by adding the tools necessary to make them even more successful,” said Hogge. “We are the best local supplier with national reach and this has proven time and again to be an accurate and honest description. Regardless of which name is on the invoice, it is the same us.”

How will this rebranding impact manufacturers and customers? First and foremost, the Ferguson Industrial rebranding will simplify interactions for both. As Ferguson was always a business name under the Wolseley PLC umbrella, customers were already familiar with it. Since the brand transition took effect on March 15th, customers now see just one name on invoices, delivery trucks, and signage: Ferguson Industrial. It has made everything simpler.

In addition to simplifying and streamlining customer interactions, unifying the brand will allow Ferguson Industrial to dedicate even more resources to growth and serving customers in the field. The industrial team will continue to focus on valve brand alignment across all of Ferguson’s districts and industries. “The brand transition will allow us to not only fully leverage the back end of Ferguson Enterprises, but all of our logistics and warehouse capabilities as well. This in turn will add more transparent inventory status and supply chain coordination via one resource, and enhance our automation to streamline everyday transactions and create seamless end-to-end engagement,” stated Sullivan.

Access to Ferguson’s powerful distribution network, Ferguson Industrial’s 160+ industrial locations, and 25 valve automation centers for coast-to-coast coverage, will deliver better, faster, more efficient “national reach, local focus” service than ever before. Each of Ferguson Industrial’s local facilities across the country is ready to service valve and automation, PVF, Fabrication, HDPE, and general MRO needs. “One of our many goals with the transition is to streamline our capabilities to help our customers reduce lead times, increase productivity, and help our customers realize cost savings whenever possible as we help solve our customers’ toughest challenges,” said Hogge.

The Ferguson Difference

There is a reason that Wolseley Industrial Group, now Ferguson Industrial, is one of the largest and most respected names in the PVF industry: It puts people first. “Ferguson Industrial understands that, in order to be successful, it needs to understand its customers. Manufacturers and end users want to work with a company that understands the intricacies and nuances of their needs,” explained Hogge.

With 70 years of experience and a combination of local, national, and international reach, Ferguson has experience tapping into customers’ needs and solving their pain points. It continuously strives to exceed expectations with every interaction.

One of the most important needs customers have expressed is the ability to trust their distributor. Ferguson ensures trust is maintained by engaging in thorough and rigid quality control practices. In addition to its internal Metrology Lab, the company also performs audits worldwide with many of its commodity suppliers, both old and new. In this way it is able to vet its factories and its processes, which does not stop after the initial assessment. Ferguson performs regular, continuous inspections of its suppliers’ valve and other piping components, as well as chemical and material testing of products. Ferguson customers can rest assured they will receive exactly what they ordered, because Ferguson holds itself and its manufacturers accountable.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the profiled company and may not reflect the position of Valve World Americas.

Standing Out From the Rest

Ferguson Industrial’s staunch commitment to its customer base certainly makes it different from other distributors, but so does the value and breadth of its products. “We have one of the largest inventories to support our customers. In today’s environment there are a lot of supply constraints globally, and our large inventories keep our customers operational during uncertain times,” said Sullivan. “Ferguson has over 100 associates overseas, so no matter where the products are made, we have the ability to send someone to oversee the process at point of manufacture.”

“Customers want value. Whether that means integrated supply solutions, reliability solutions, vending solutions, or cost reductions,” said Hogge. “We cater to a wide and diverse customer base, with 86% of our customers purchasing from our various customer groups. Stocking many different products in order to meet various customer needs is an essential part of our success.” Ferguson has also invested in 25 valve automation centers, 3 world-class high-density polyethylene fabrication shops, and thermoplastic-lined pipe spooling facilities.

“We are there for our customers. We are not just supplying products, we are offering solutions to tough challenges. The Ferguson difference means a brand you can trust, with people who make you, the customer, its top priority,” stated Miller.

The Ferguson Industrial team is extremely adaptable, and not afraid to think outside the box in order to properly address a customer’s concern. “One energy company came to us in frustration over having to replace their severe service control valves twice a year because of flaws in the valve design. Ferguson worked with the valve manufacturer to make significant design changes to the valve internals and improve the life of the valve,” said Sullivan. Ferguson helped a customer introduce and develop a metal seated ball valve program to eliminate a steam leak and extend the valve’s lifespan from six months to more than two years.

Innovation, development, and problem solving are essential to the success of Ferguson Industrial’s business — and the success of their customers’ businesses as well.

Ferguson Ventures

A unique element of Ferguson Industrial’s ongoing success is its dedication to solving customer challenges through research, development, and accelerating innovation. Ferguson Ventures is the corporate venture capital arm of Ferguson and makes strategic investments into startups. These investments drive collaborations with innovative founders to deliver solutions that enable its customers to succeed in today’s ever evolving marketplace and be better prepared for tomorrow.

Ferguson Ventures is focused on three key areas: 1) Construction evolution trends driving productivity, 2) New ways to increase contractor efficiency and labor savings, and 3) Environmental and sustainability opportunities focusing on water & energy.

“Our Ferguson Ventures group has been up and running for just under 5 years, and we have made 12 investments to date. They look for up-and-coming companies with progressive techniques and changing technologies to create a better future for professionals in our industry,” explained Hogge.

Looking Forward

With the rise of the Ferguson Industrial era, the future is bright, indeed.

Looking at the big picture, the new name is Ferguson Industrial’s Avenue to continued growth. It is also a natural next step in strengthening the relationships the company so highly values; both the relationships within the company as well as those it has built with the customers, vendors, and manufacturers. Hands-down, Ferguson Industrial’s new name and ability to offer even more clarity, more opportunities, and more growth is a win for everyone.

Innovation and technology are at the forefront of Ferguson Industrial’s plans for the future. It is focused on valve automation products and maintaining its proud position as a trusted, respected industry leader in the supply and distribution of those products. Ferguson will source and add products in all its primary industries, including products that complement the flow control and instrumentation segment specifically. It will also continue to invest in new products and stock those products nationwide in order to support its customers and distribution centers. Simultaneously, Ferguson will continue investing in its local branches and its people, by offering even more opportunities for education and growth.

Increasing the Ferguson Industrial footprint positions the company to achieve key goals and continue growing along with its customers and partners, to ensure that those customers continue to thrive in today’s everchanging marketplace. Ferguson Industrial aims to be more than just a supplier, it aims to be a long-term partner who continually raises the bar on its commitment to safety, quality, performance, and exceptional service.

“Ferguson Industrial is not slowing down anytime soon. Our sights are on the future: future technological developments in the field, future customer solutions, and future opportunities for expansion. The brand transition from Wolseley to Ferguson is not a speed bump on this road, rather, it is a bright green light leading the company forward,” concluded Hogge.

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Sara Mathov is a feature editor contributing to Valve World Americas, Stainless steel World Americas and other related print & online media.