Bob Parsons finds the right elements to grow Dismas Distribution Services

When Managing Partner and CEO Bob Parsons bought Dismas Distribution Services, he saw the potential in the third-party supply chain company.
Today, Dismas is one of the fastest growing businesses in Central Ohio, where it has achieved more than 500 percent revenue growth in less than four years. Dismas also has moved into bigger space twice, including to a 60,000 square-foot facility a few months ago.
“I wanted to grow smart, and not just fast. We haven’t taken just anything, and we were able to network with Columbus being a huge distribution area,” Parsons says.
From the beginning Parsons got with his board and mapped out the future in a three-year plan, which the company has exceeded in every aspect. It wasn’t just in revenue, he says, but also margins, costs for the space, costs for the employees, etc.
In addition, when Parsons came into the industry five years ago, he noticed companies where the business was built on one or two accounts, and that customer volume ebbed and flowed. It was important to counteract that.
“By doing e-commerce, by having certain clients that we do stuff for all the time, we’ve been able to grow and have a consistent workforce,” Parsons says.
Diversifying helped as well — adding services like quality control, specialty sewing, assembly and helping startups meet orders.

Caring about employees, customers

Parsons understands the importance of a good strategic plan, strong operating system and the latest technology, but mainly it comes down to culture.
“For me, I’ve always believed that culture is one of the No. 1 things to have, if not the No. 1 thing, to create in a company and in an environment,” he says. “Create the culture and everything else falls into place.”
Parsons wanted a family atmosphere of teamwork, so he provided perks to his employees — more paid holidays, earned vacation time, a health plan and flexibility so parents could work just while their kids were at school.
He also empowered supervisors to run the business and bring ideas, while monthly meetings with the entire company added transparency.
With a strong culture, Dismas can keep about 50 base employees, and then call on a flexible workforce as needed. In fact, 90 percent of hires come from referrals, a testament to being a place people want to work.