Case Studies

Amazon Hose & Rubber Company

Value-added hose and rubber solutions in Florida

Amazon Hose & Rubber Company began as a small family business in Chicago in 1919, when all hoses were still made of pure rubber. The company expanded into its Miami and Tampa locations in the ’40s and ’50s, as synthetic rubbers and plastics were just starting to penetrate the market. By the time Amazon Hose opened its Orlando location in 1981, the hydraulic revolution was well underway. Amazon Hose is still owned by the same family that opened its doors over 96 years ago, and is proud to have grown and evolved as much as the market it serves.

The company is currently headquartered in a new 50,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility in Orlando, Florida. The business provides customers with just-in-time solutions including industrial and hydraulic hose assemblies, automotive hoses, brake lines, hydraulic couplings and adapters, valves, belts, sheet rubber and accessories. The company also provides hose repairs in all three of its walk-in service centers.

Now in its third generation, Summer Rodman is CEO and owner of Amazon Hose. She has invested significant effort and resources into a major “Rebirth” of the company’s structure. In 2011, after weathering the recession, she displayed great courage by hiring a new executive team, expanding the sales force and making strategic investments in infrastructure. Jim Donlin, president of Amazon Hose, has been leading the organization through these major changes in the company’s structure, sales and operations.

“We set ourselves apart through our service and expertise,” Donlin explains. “Our hose technicians average over 12 years’ experience and are some of the most knowledgeable people in the industry.” Adding inventory and outside sales staff has helped increase the company’s market share while improving service and product offerings for customers.

Diversity in Services

Amazon Hose sources bulk hose from some of the largest manufactures in the industry such as Continental ContiTech. The company carries 69,000 SKUs in inventory, and services a broad market which includes contractors, municipalities and original equipment manufacturer businesses.

The company goes beyond the role of a typical distributor and offers custom, value-added solutions to the end-user. “We do most of our fabrication in-house,” Donlin clarifies. “We custom assemble hose assemblies to fulfill the customer order.  We cut and couple the hose, crimp it, test it, clean it and ship it to the customer. We build a finished product; we’re not making the rubber here – we are putting it into the final assembly form as a value-added distributor.”

Over the course of 96 years in business, Amazon Hose has established long-term relationships with a number of clients in varying market sectors. “We have a longstanding relationship the theme parks throughout central Florida,” says Donlin. “We make hoses for certain segments of the park, such as brake lines for buses, ducting hoses for laundry facilities and hydraulic hoses for rides.”

“We fabricate and package hose assembly kits for other original equipment manufacturer businesses for them to sell online,” he adds. “We also provide a tremendous amount of products to cities and government municipalities throughout the state of Florida. We provide hydraulic hoses for their fleet services as well as water suction and discharge hoses, used to move water after heavy rains.”

Amazon Hose caters heavily to the construction market, particularly considering the growing environmental liability contractors face. “If a machine has a hydraulic leak, it can become a big problem,” says Donlin. The company has taken on a new product called Spectroline that can help with leak detection. It’s a process where fluid is introduced into the hydraulic system and the contractor then can use a black light to check for any leakage during the machines operation. The company also makes available InfoChips – small chips which are attached to the hose and are used as a data collection solution that help end-users monitor and track trends in hose performance.

Going through changes

As part of the “Rebirth” strategy of 2011, the decision was made to invest in a new enterprise resource planning system. “Led by the vision of the executive team, the new system has allowed us to efficiently track the end-to-end experience from sales prospecting through the quoting, inventory, production, quality assurance and fulfillment process,” Donlin explains.

“We are currently refining our sales process and implementing a client relationship management (CRM) application to provide better proactive service to our customers and better identify trends in anticipating future client requirements,” he adds. “Our sales associates are equipped with the latest mobile devices to connect to our vendor’s technical specifications and help our customers make better informed decisions.”

Amazon Hose also has new equipment and machinery. “We have invested more than $500,000 in equipment upgrades to gain access into newer markets,” Donlin notes. The result of this rebirth has been significant growth in both volume and margins. Over the next few years, Donlin reveals that his team is in line to purchase other businesses as part of a strategic growth plan. “Going through this rebirth with the third generation of family ownership has presented the opportunity for us to really make a mark,” he says.

Through all of the changes in the business, key values remain the same. Amazon Hose & Rubber Company continues to focus on premium service with a knowledgeable staff, strong supply partnerships and a continued unwavering dedication to sustainable growth. 

Published on: October 23, 2015

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