Optimizing Our Sales Channels For Growth
Positioning Airgas as the Clear Leader
in a Consolidating Market
Packaged gas companies have historically engaged customers with a two-pronged approach — larger customers were managed by field sales personnel, while smaller customers were serviced through a retail branch. Airgas first began challenging that notion with our strategic accounts program. Created for customers with multiple or national locations and a wide array of product and service needs, the strategic accounts program provides integrated solutions that leverage our broad product lines, process expertise, and proficiency in supply chain management. This program has created real value for customers and has been a true competitive advantage for us in recent years.
Several years ago, we further refined our strategic accounts program by concentrating our resources within specific customer segments. This resulted in Airgas strategic accounts representatives becoming experts in specific customer segments and able to provide products and services tailored to meet the specific and most critical needs of those customers.
As we refined the strategic accounts program and it matured, we realized that many local or regional customers within the same market segments served by strategic accounts had similar needs and wanted the same value proposition. So now the same segment-specific products and services available to our largest strategic accounts are also available to our local and regional customers who need them.
Airgas has been a major player in the safety industry for more than 15 years and one of the main reasons safety product sales have continued to grow was the development of the Airgas safety telesales channel. The telesales channel has proven to be an efficient, easy-to-engage way for customers — and especially our smaller customers — to access our wide assortment of safety products. Now that SAP seamlessly links all parts of the Airgas product and service network, Airgas Total Access was created to bring our full range of products to smaller customers.
Our goal is simple: offer customers access to all that Airgas has to offer and make it available as simply as possible. In addition to safety products, customers can now satisfy all of their needs for gases and welding products through a single relationship with an Airgas Total Access representative.
Customers today also demand a strong e-Business channel. It provides a more efficient and effective way to connect 24/7 to the wide variety of products and services they need. But overlaying a digital platform across three major operating systems and 20 independent databases was not practical for Airgas — until now. Our investment in SAP creates the foundation on which to build a consistent e-Business platform across all customer touch points. A robust, state-of-the-art e-Business platform will effectively support all sales channels and put Airgas in a leadership position in the rapidly evolving digital transaction space among our primary competitors and the development of that platform is well underway.
As a company of action, Airgas consistently challenges the status quo as part of its mission to better serve customers. Whether engaging customers through their choice of sales channels, constantly striving for greater efficiencies in the way we service our customers, leveraging the latest information systems and operations technologies, or being in the right place with the right product and service solutions, Airgas is more customer focused than ever.