Winner: Manufacturing/Automotive

Raymond Zukowski just wanted to make it easier for his customer base of truck-parts distributors to buy from him. So Zukowski, chairman and CEO of Euclid Industries, has spent the last 40 years diversifying the 59-year-old supplier’s after-market product line.

“They can now order product that covers what they would probably purchase from 90 to 100 different suppliers,” he says. “Instead, they are able to place orders with one supplier. It’s a supermarket-type approach. With one supplier there’s one order, one receipt, one shipment. It’s easier for them to make prepaid freight and get additional discounts, have one warranty, one catalog and one part-numbering system. It’s what’s given us a big advantage.”

When Zukowski took over from his father, Zygmunt, in 1958, annual sales volume was less than $500,000. Now, with 330 employees at four locations in Canada, a remanufacturing facility in Virginia and a 200,000-square-foot plant in Cleveland, Euclid Industries is thriving. The company had 1997 revenues of close to $100 million.

Zukowski says listening to his customers and adapting to their needs has been one key to the firm’s success. “It’s always easier to listen to what your customer wants,” he says. “It’s part of being a supplier that’s easy to do business with.