Integrated Distribution Inc. (IDI) is all about keeping things moving. The industrial distribution company sells components for conveyers, electric motors, power transmission products and more to a wide range of manufacturers that include food processors, bottling companies, foundries, automotive parts makers, and packaging handlers.
The manufacturing process for just about every product involves conveyers, said Chuck Yob, owner of Integrated Distribution Inc. at 4000 West River Drive in Comstock Park. It could be the belt that moves logs and brush into an industrial wood chipper. Similarly, HVAC (heating, cooling, air conditioning) systems are needed everywhere to manage air flow and quality, whether it’s in automotive paint booths, foundries, or school buildings. IDI sells parts to their customers who make those products and more.
Yob had worked in his family’s industrial distribution business since the early 1980’s when he decided to start his own business in 1998. Mark Magnus and Dawn Marks, who also worked at the family business, joined him and are still with IDI. The three started Integrated Distribution Inc. at their current location leasing a tiny 240 square foot office space in a front corner of the building. They had just a handful of customers, and their inventory fit on a set of book shelves by the front door.
The business now occupies a 10,000 square foot area that they lease. Fifteen percent of that is office space. The rest is the main warehouse and fabricating area, an unheated storage area for bulk items and a loading dock, and a mezzanine used for storage. They have customers nationwide and ship to Canada. There are ten full-time and two part-time employees, and nobody has titles, Yob said because “everyone does some of everything.”
Integrated Distribution is a small locally owned business with world-wide competitors, and it has taken everyone’s combined knowledge, talent, and problem solving skills to grow the company, Yob noted. Advertising is done through referrals and “pounding the pavement.”
Integrated Distribution uses “just-in-time” strategy as do their customers. This inventory tactic increases efficiency and decreases waste by receiving goods only as they are needed in the production process, thereby reducing inventory and associated carrying costs. A small manufacturer doesn’t want to build and maintain a warehouse to store parts, said Yob adding, “We are an inventory buffer for our customers.” The company also does custom fabrication, modifying materials such as rolls of belt to customers’ specifications.
“Managing inventory is a critical part of what we do,” said Yob, adding that process has changed over the years. Inventory was once organized using card files, like the old library card catalog. Now it’s on computer files to be quickly and easily accessed.
Yob learned the business through hands-on experience and attending specialty seminars at colleges such as Texas A&M, the first university to offer an industrial distribution degree. He was born in South Bend, Indiana and graduated from high school in Indianapolis. Yob and his wife, Shirley live in Belmont. They have two grown children. Their son Chad Yob works at Integrated Distribution Inc. When Yob’s not working, he likes hunting, snowmobiling, reading, and spending time at the lodge he owns in Northern Michigan.