Porter Pipe & Supply is made up of people who are committed, caring, and passionate professionals. According to its CEO Nicholas Porter, the purpose of the business at Porter Pipe is to provide more opportunities to more people. The result of this purpose is a multi-dimensional win: a happy, collaborative work culture with a world-class staff; loyal customers; and millions of dollars in sales (for more on this, watch the first episode of the docuseries).
That purpose was the driving force behind the last year of international crisis known as Covid-19. Porter Pipe may not come to mind when the average person thinks about essential services; we tend to think of grocery store workers, police officers, firefighters, bus drivers, and of course, those in the medical field. But Porter Pipe and other distributors served as a critical link in the supply chain. When times got tight, Porter—in part because of its dedication to its employees and customers, and in part, because that loyalty helped to keep the business strong—kept ordering the supplies it knew its customers would need.
In return, customers knew no matter how backed up the supply chain got, Porter already had what they needed in stock. As a result, client projects (expanding hospitals, building critical infrastructure) weren’t held up. The ripple effect of a distribution network that keeps working is enormous. Think about one distribution company’s products being integral to so many projects around the nation (do you know of any buildings without pipes?). It is staggering to imagine the impact the distribution industry’s six million employees have on our economy, health, and safety. And it all starts with a culture that puts people first.
Another benefit of this culture is institutional memory. For example, Harold, a long-time employee who has worked with the founder, is adamant that he is treated better at Porter than any other job he ever had or could have.
The family-like culture is a natural reflection of the values of the company’s founders that still ring true for today’s execs.
Will Quinn, of Infor, was at Porter Pipe during the filming of the premiere episode of the We Supply America docuseries. And he got a chance to speak with some of the employees.
“I think Porter Pipe is an excellent example of a small family-owned distributor,” he said. “Porter Pipe is representative of many distribution companies throughout America. Its founders saw a need and filled it. They developed and maintained a culture based on faith that creates a family atmosphere. All employees are treated with respect and dignity. The benefits of this kind of culture are numerous. Attracting and keeping great employees is a challenge for most businesses. Still, for those who create a great culture with a familial atmosphere, many employees are often referred by other employees. Father, son, cousin, they all become part of the team.”
“Nicholas Porter, the new CEO, has taken the passion the company was founded on and is in the process of infusing his vision for the future to ensure Porter Pipe grows and is operating for generations to come,” said Quinn.
If you want a hint at where the company is going, according to Porter, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” You can bet under his watch, people will remain the most important asset at Porter.
“It is great to see that Infor’s unique distribution-focused solutions can help companies like Porter Pipe focus on their businesses, enabling them to be even more efficient and profitable,” said Quinn. “Our Cloud Suite Distribution offers best-practice capabilities designed specifically to meet the challenges distributors face. Thanks to Dirk Beveridge and Infor for supporting the We Supply America tour honoring the Noble Calling of Distribution!”