PUMA Safety Shoes; www.puma-safety.com; (770) 349-6332
Tell us a little about the history of your company.
The associated parent company of PSS Distribution LP is ISM GmbH based in Germany, Europe. ISM has a long history in making footwear. The company was founded in 1930 and is today one of the leading vendors for safety footwear in Europe with its brands PUMA safety, albatros and footguard. ISM is a family-owned business managed by the 3rd generation. Within the last decade, ISM managed to increase sales by 170 percent in Europe. From 2009 the strategic plan was worked out to establish and become a recognized vendor for high-quality safety footwear also on other global markets. Today ISM is active with distributors or own companies in the U.S. (main focus market), Mexico, Australia, South Africa, Israel and Panama.
The constant effort of ISM is to develop and offer high quality as well as innovative products in order to keep gaining further market shares with a clear defined product, marketing and sales strategy by brand and category.
The most important step of the last few years was starting own production and collection for the U.S. market. For this, the company PSS distribution LP was founded in January 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. Today there are nine people working for PSS and intending to employ further employees.
PSS has its warehouse in Atlanta, from which PSS is fulfilling the incoming orders within 48 hours. In order to manage this effort is to have all catalogue items permanently available for its customers. The stock level is generally covering the market and expected demand of the next six months. “We are very proud that we managed to have already after such short time with considering high increasing sales numbers, an average availability of every single item well above 97 percent.”
What has been your company’s business strategy to gain market share?
The business strategy is to offer innovative and new looking products that are not offered by our main competitors. Strong focus is to offer products that are strong and durable but still offer the most possible comfort in flexibility, fit and cushioning.
Within the next few years, there will be significant investments in sales and marketing to communicate faster with our customers and the users of our products.
PUMA safety footwear is only distributed through selected distributors.
With having a good distribution network, the next step is to create demand in the market and route this to your distributors.
How do distributors contribute to your success in the marketplace?
As mentioned before, PUMA safety is only available through selected distributors that do stock and promote the products as well as fit in our distribution network. We are proud to say that there are today over 60 active accounts distributing our products, many through multiple sales locations/mobiles, such as Safety Solutions, Lehigh Outfitters, Safety Shoe Distributors, Grainger and Rogan shoes, just to mention some.
Distributors are very important for our success, as all products are only sold through distributors. Our success is very much dependent on active and committed distributors. That is one reason why we do not sell to even strong safety footwear distributors that do not stock and offer our products actively.
Our philosophy is supporting the active selling customers and not those who “just” want to serve a demand from the marketplace, which will be one of the main initiatives for 2013 where we will start more with marketing campaigns.
What business characteristics do you look for when selecting to work with a distributor?
To become a PUMA safety distributor, we do expect to have products in stock and available for customers. As well it is important that the distributor is focused and familiar with selling high-quality safety footwear and that the sales environment is fitting to our brand.
Describe your current financial picture.
As a young company in the U.S., the increase rates are high, which they should be. But the main issue for us is that customers with us from the very beginning continue to show very high increases in sales and stronger brand/product commitments. This means the consumers are happy with our products and even recommend them to others. This is our main goal!
Our company growth rate to 2011 is 27 percent. With starting the deliveries of the new line PUMA Miss Safety and strong pre-books, we plan to increase compared to 2011 by 55 percent.
For the next three years, we have focused to increase year by year at least with 30 percent.
What should distributors know about your company’s future?
Our main goal and plan for the future is to offer our selected PUMA safety distributor a very good service in communication, selective distribution, product training and a high delivery performance 12 months a year.
For our consumers, we want to deliver the best performing and great looking safety footwear made with the latest technologies high-quality materials to ensure best comfort and satisfaction with our consumers. This is the best advertising for which we work every day!
Our main goal is becoming a leading and recognized brand also for safety footwear in the U.S. market within the next five years.