Second MEDCO Customer Show draws huge turnout in Philadelphia

More than 200 mobile tool dealers from throughout the country and 400 to 500 hard parts and paint distributors converged at the Philadelphia Convention Center during the weekend of Sept. 27 for the second annual MEDCO Customer Show, where they were offered special deals, attended education seminars, won prizes, networked and saw a host of new tools and technologies at supplier exhibits. MEDCO is one of the biggest players in the general automotive repair and body shop supply, tool and equipment distribution business.

Andrew Keim, president of MEDCO, said the goal of the show has always been to offer customers, which include professionals in both the automotive collision and mechanical repair industries, an opportunity to grow their business and their knowledge so they can be at the forefront of the industry.

Training, a key component of the show, was offered by 18 different manufacturers right on the show floor. The 30-minute training sessions gave attendees a chance to learn about many topics in an efficient manner to maximize their booth time. “I’m confident that many of our customers identified new growth areas for their business, and new knowledge as to how to sell new product lines,” Keim said.

“Of course the market is changing and there is so much going on with the use of new metals, diagnostics, batteries and more,” Keim noted. “The winners in our business are going to be those who are comfortable talking about those changes and selling the right products to manage those changes.”

Keim said the show also gave MEDCO a chance to demonstrate its online value-added offerings, including its online ordering system that has thousands of product manuals and parts breakdowns; its promo-zone system that allows the dealer to create personalized sales support material; and the MEDCO mobile app. “The MEDCO mobile app allows the dealer to click a button and show a picture and specifications of the product without a price to the customer. A picture is always worth more than a thousand words.”

All of these value-added offerings were demonstrated at a booth in the center of the show. “It’s one thing to talk to a customer about a technological innovation, and something else to actually show them the innovation in person,” he said. Dozens of customers signed up right on the spot to take advantage of MEDCO technology systems and marketing materials.

The show also demonstrated the extent to which MEDCO has been able to integrate the California Tool Co. and Weiss Tool Distributors organizations that MEDCO acquired in the last year. Keim said both of these companies brought excellent talent to the MEDCO organization. He further noted that the acquisitions allowed MEDCO, which now has 60 sales professionals nationwide, to open a Texas distribution center in recent months.

Keim said the weekend show was designed to give dealers an efficient way to see new products and interact in a casual atmosphere with suppliers. “It’s hard for a mobile tool dealer to take an extended period of time out of their route,” he noted. The show gives those dealers in particular an opportunity to improve profitability, gain product knowledge, get training and then quickly get back to their business. The MEDCO show also gives dealers a chance to see a lot of new products prior to the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) show, which will be held in November. “It (the MEDCO show) is an opportunity to see what’s new before other people see it,” he said, adding that many MEDCO customers don’t have the time to go to SEMA.

This year’s show once again featured prizes and cash incentive deals from suppliers, and more than 75 percent of the attendees took advantage of the cash deals. In addition, close to 45 people won prizes, which was a change from last year. “We wanted to have more prizes for more people,” Keim said. Prizes included trips, big screen TVs and a Super Bowl package (which was sponsored by Ingersoll Rand.)

Next year’s show will once again be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Sept. 19 and 20, 2014. Keim said MEDCO will be surveying customers to see how the show can still be improved. 

“We’ve got a year to plan and make sure that our customers get to see all of the most important vendors, the best new products, and the best opportunities for their business,” Keim said. He added, “Our goal is to help our customers to grow and that is a commitment that the show helps to make happen.”