Ranger Distribution Experiencing Growth in Elkhart’s RV Hub

Ranger Distribution Experiencing Growth in Elkhart’s RV Hub

RDI Founders from left, Rod Humphreys, Brent Driver and John Curran are show inside recently completed warehouse at their location on Buckingham Road in Elkhart, Ind. (Photos: Gary Gerard/RVBusiness)

ELKHART, Ind. – Since its launch in September 2019, Elkhart, Ind.-based Ranger Distribution Inc. (RDI) has gone through quite a few changes – most recently the completion of an additional 67,000 square feet of warehouse space.

The new addition, completed in the fall of 2022, includes 4,000 square feet of corporate office space, raising the total square footage to 90,000 at the three-and-a-half-year-old company specializing in the distribution of wire, electrical, plumbing and building products used by RV OEMs.

“It’s all high-cube warehouse,” said John Curran, company co-founder and CEO. “We went up as high as we could to add additional shelf space to our footprint.”

The product mix at RDI remains similar to its original catalog – primarily electrical, “but we have begun to add associated products and some unassociated products in the plumbing categories,” said Brent Diver, co-founder and CRO, “as well as some vehicular components, such as manual scissor jacks.”

Another significant product launch in the past year included LP manifold systems, Diver said.

But despite growing from just eight employees at its founding to 27 today, and despite more than tripling its size, one thing at RDI hasn’t changed– the dogged determination to live by the mantra, “Because we said we would.”

“We adopted that in the very beginning,” said Rod Humphreys, co-founder and COO. “It’s not something we just talk about. It’s truly the culture of this company and every single person who works in it.”

So much so that last August, RDI hosted an event at Elcona Country Club featuring Alex Sheen, an expert motivational speaker on accountability and commitment. He’s a five-time TEDxTalk speaker, author, podcast host, humanitarian and founder of the “Because I said I would” movement. Sheen’s work has been featured on the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, the Steve Harvey Show, CNN, Fox News and more.

“We had 100-plus people there,” Humphreys said. “A lot of OEMS and a lot of outsiders came in. This is what it’s all about. This is what we believe in. And that is 100% built into the culture of every person here. It’s what we look for in our employees. If you don’t buy in, you’re just not a good fit here. I truly believe that … is a tremendous part of our success.”

“A lot of companies talk about who they are and where they’re going,” added Byron Chartier, the newest member of the RDI team who was brought on board earlier this month to lead new product development and quality control. “But everything they’ve talked about over the last years as far as the ability to identify, help grow and mentor their teams, these guys have really embodied servant leadership. They’re a bottom-up organization where the leaders really believe their role is to serve the team as well as the customers.”

It seems OEMs have responded well to RDI’s philosophy, especially as the pandemic in 2020 changed the RV industry landscape, said Diver.

“It became a situation where we didn’t have a big footprint so as a new supplier, we were able to step in and fill the void for a lot of current suppliers,” he said. “Some of that has turned into significant long-term business. Some of it was just temporary help to our friends at the OEM level.”

One example of RDI stepping up to a pandemic-related challenge came in late 2020 when the company teamed with WFCO to help overcome an industry-wide breaker shortage.

“That has turned into significant long-term business for us,” Diver said, “And it opened up doors that at the time were not available to us, but it allowed us to sell into almost every complex in the county overnight, which then allowed us to get into those facilities and grow our offerings.”

RDI’s total footprint now is 90,000 square feet.

And today, as RDI navigates through the current marketplace where OEM slowdowns have become common, Diver sees opportunity.

“Being the new guy on the block during the pandemic, it became very hard to secure new product lines,” he said. “With the relief in demand, it’s opened up more supply. So, if there are people who are unhappy with the way their current sales numbers are, and they are looking for a strong partner to take them to the next level, we’ve made the list of some significant clients that I think are going to be good for us long term. So, in a single word, opportunity is what I see right now.”

Curran added, “When a factory is running at 85 or 95% capacity, they don’t want to stop the line to try any new products. They don’t want any interruptions. So, as it slows down a little bit, you have the ability to do some prototypes in the factory.”

When OEMs are looking toward innovation and improvement, RDI stands ready to help them meet those goals, Curran said.

Chartier noted that during the last three months during a downturn among OEMs, “The team here actually took the time to train all their team members on the products, to give them deeper product knowledge to help with growth as we enter the next stage.”

Diver said there are two ways to deal with a slowdown, “You cut back the team and hope at the end you get them all back,” he said. “Or you keep everyone, and you pour the investment into training and when you turn this thing around you are that much farther ahead of your competition and that much more ready to grow to the next level.  And that’s the approach we took,” Diver said.

Added Humpreys, “I will say, while everybody around us is cutting every corner they can, cutting people here, cutting people there. We’ve grown. We’ve not cut one person. There is not one person who works here who has missed any time at all because of the slowdown.”

Source: https://rvbusiness.com/ranger-distribution-experiencing-growth-in-elkharts-rv-hub/