Affiliated acts as an intermediary, helping customers find affordable solutions for their warehousing needs with a client roster that even includes HAZMAT-certified facilities and freezer storage.
Affiliated Warehouse Companies has been in business since 1953. Jim came on board in 1969 after a stint as a Merchant Marine and some time spent working for a midwestern steamship company. While in the steamship business, he witnessed the growing use of containers for storage of large quantities of goods. These containers would then be hauled to public warehouses for storage prior to distribution.
Spurred by this trend, Jim subsequently joined Affiliated. He began purchasing the company in parcels beginning in the late 70´s, and by 1991, he had bought out the original owners totally.
Jim´s 32-year-old son, Patrick, is involved in the company as well. He joined the firm nearly 8 years ago, and Jim claims that Patrick was a motivating force behind getting Affiliated online. The result is http://www.awco.com
Affiliated was no stranger to technology, however. Jim says the business had been using computers since 1979. A familiarity with high-tech solutions made the decision to expand on the Internet a no-brainer. Jim and Patrick were quick to realize that a web site would make a powerful addition to their marketing strategy.
"There were no PC´s then [in 1979], there were only mainframes. There was no canned software, either! We´ve brought computers into the business far earlier than most other companies our size, and we did it because I believed in the importance of database marketing, which is computer-driven."
"We had advertised nationally and internationally in trade publications, we went to trade shows and exhibitions and mailed out our own directories. When Patrick took an interest in the Internet, he said `your generation is used to finding warehouses that way, but there´s a whole new generation of people who are going to turn to their keyboards, and we´ve got to be up there.´ And he was exactly right."
"The Internet is now a very important part of our international marketing program. We were doing international marketing before the Internet, but now we definitely have total international exposure. We´re getting requests from warehouses throughout the world: Germany, Turkey, Indonesia, Singapore… all over. It has strengthened our international marketing efforts to a huge degree."
As many business owners know, timing is everything. While Jim was getting his company online, a new business trend began to emerge, and Affiliated stood to reap the rewards of their early presence on the web. That trend? Outsourcing.
"The whole time that we were working towards a web site, another thing was occurring which was purely coincidental. Companies began to outsource functions: accounting, sales, and most importantly outsourcing their warehousing and distribution. Consequently, these companies didn´t really understand our industry and didn´t know where to find us. So they turned to the Internet, and they found us."
"Many of the calls that we now get are from companies that have never used warehousing in the past, but they are beginning to outsource that function. Our decision to get involved with the Internet was greatly enhanced by this trend."
While returning customers may opt to contact Affiliated through mail, phone, or fax, the web site has become the main entry point for new customers, who often find Affiliated just by doing a simple web search. The site features both Affiliated and their clients, and if the client has a website for their warehouse, that site is linked.