GME Supply Co.
GME provides gear that helps keeps clients safe at high points.
By Alan Dorich, senior editor at Knighthouse Publishing
When people come to work at GME Supply Co., they are guided by the company’s culture, which values honesty, creativity, respect and integrity. “We just make sure that everybody every day uses that as their compass,” Vice President of Business Development Caleb Messer declares.
Columbia, Mo.-based GME is a division of Columbia Safety & Supply and provides fall protection, safety equipment and gear for multiple industries, including cell-tower maintenance, oil and gas, commercial construction and manufacturing. “We typically sell everything the client would need to stay safe and productive from one job site to the next,” he says.
Messer explains that GME’s founder established the business after working for a company that specialized in the fabrication of steel and aluminum cell phone and radio towers. “While they were selling those structures and components, there came to be an additional need for safety equipment,” he says.
This led to the start of GME in 2005, which now works predominantly with contractors. “Our strongest area is anyone that works at height,” Messer says. Its clients range from steel erectors to those work on wind energy plants or oil and gas derricks.
Some of GME’s top selling products include fall protection, rigging and safety rope and pulleys, hand tools and power tools. “If it goes on a job trailer and if it’s going from job to job with the employee, it’s probably ours,” he says.
GME focuses on keeping itself competitive, which included moving to a new headquarters in Columbia last year. But the company is in the process of adding more people and space to this location.
“We’re adding 50 desks and we’ve got the space for another 50 that’s roughed out,” he says. “We’ve been doing a lot of hiring.”
The company also invested in its technology with updates to its website that will keep it competitive with Amazon. GME also integrated its ERP system with its customer relationship management software and voice over IP system.
This gives the company “a consistent scoreboard that our salespeople use to compare themselves to their colleagues,” he says. “Our company does everything it can to leverage technology.”
GME also started training with The Predictive Index, which helps companies with workforce assessments and management workshops. “It’s a group that helps determine what people’s motivating needs and drives are,” Messer says.
“We’re really always focused on ensuring our people are happy and put in a position to succeed,” he says, adding that the training has helped better align positions and associates. “We’ve also created multiple templates for what we’re looking for whenever we look for new people.”
Eyes on Expansion
Messer joined GME in 2012 after working in the transportation industry. “I came aboard to help with business development and logistics,” he recalls.
He is proud of how GME has maintained a family atmosphere despite its growth over the years. “When you’re here, you feel like you’re working with your best friends,” he says.
But more growth is in the cards for GME, which will include more investments in expansion. “It’s not a marathon or a sprint,” Messer notes. “It’s both.”
The company plans to move into new locations, which will help GME better meet the needs of its customers. “Speed to market is everything,” he says. “We work with contractors that need everything yesterday.”
Today, the company has locations in Columbia and Atlanta, but wants to establish a presence that allows it to be faster “all over the country,” he says. “We’re trying to get ourselves to where we’re one to two days [from] anywhere.”
GME also plans to add new technologies while maintaining the same culture “where people want to continue to work hard and collaborate,” Messer asserts. “We enjoy where we are, but we think and talk more about what we could do better and where we’re headed.”
GME makes charitable contributions through The Columbia Foundation, its non-profit arm. “Almost every one of our employees contributes weekly to the non-profit,” Messer says.
The organization focuses specifically on contributing to charities that benefit children. “We raise tens of thousands of dollars in employee contributions each year from weekly payroll deductions,” he says.
The company also sponsors Diamond Night, which benefits Great Circle, a group that helps children who are victims of neglect, abuse and drug abuse. “We’ve helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for that organization through our leadership,” he says. “We want to be good stewards of the community.”