CRP stays focused on the customer in a global market

Jan. 1, 2020
Daniel Schildge, president of CRP Industries, explains his company's focus on customer service and setup in a global marketplace.
Daniel Schildge CRP industries automotive aftermarket automotive parts

Motor Age: What are CRP's main customer service focuses?

Schildge: The No. 1 thing for us is high-quality products. We will not take shortcuts on quality. That is what CRP is all about. The on-time delivery, the high fill rate, the accurate shipments, those are requirements. If you want to do business in this market, you have to do that. Quality is more of a discretionary decision. Certain companies focus on high quality, while others might focus on price or value. We made the decision a long time ago that our focus is on high-quality products. Along with the high-quality and delivery pieces, we like to think of ourselves as "high touch" with our customers. Our people know our customers well because they have been working with them for a long time. We want to be close with our customers.

Within the customer service realm, infrastructure is very important. We have four shipping points in North America — one in Canada, one in Mexico and two in the U.S.. These include Fremont, Calif., and our new headquarters here in Cranbury, N. J. A few years ago, we recognized that we had outgrown our facility in Carteret, NJ., which we had occupied for 45 years. We built a brand-new 108,000 square-foot building in 2009, right in the middle of the financial crisis. It is a state-of-the-art facility. With 36-foot-clear ceilings, it tripled our storage capacity. We went from four shipping docks to 14. We've really found we can much more efficiently and effectively service our customers.

Motor Age: What is CRP's corporate positioning and the benefits to clients?

Schildge: CRP was founded by my grandfather, as the general agent for Continental AG shortly after World War II...Over the years, Continental expanded and bought General Tire. At that point, we transitioned away from the tire business and into the general automotive parts business. To ensure our success, we added more suppliers and continued to focus on our objective to function as our suppliers' subsidiary in North America. We want them to ship the product to us and let us go to market from there. We take on the responsibility of product development, cataloging, marketing, packaging, importing, warehousing, shipping, and selling...

This has huge benefits for our supplier partners because it keeps our interest aligned. We are looking out for them. In a typical supplier-customer relationship, customers are really looking out for their own interests, making sure they get what they need. In our case, we are very careful about the brand positioning for the brands that we sell — ContiTech, Pentosin and Rein Automotive. As a partner, we are very concerned in making this a long-term sustainable business for our suppliers. We also want to make it easy for them. This is a tough market to sell into, so we take on all the challenging things that need to be done. They make the quality products, and we work with them to figure out how to sell them.

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