New vans fuel efficiency

Monday, May 16, 2011

MATTHEWS, N.C. - Snug Seat can better serve its HME provider customers now that all of its U.S. direct sales reps drive company-owned, full-sized Sprinter vans, company officials say.

Previously, the five direct sales reps received an allowance for a car, usually a minivan, and an allowance for fuel and maintenance, says President Steve Scribner.

"I've done this for 25 years and it always seemed inefficient to me to have our reps driving minivans," he said. "They couldn't carry demos, and they couldn't pick up equipment when someone was through with it. They couldn't keep spare parts or accessories, so they couldn't solve problems on the spot."

Snug Seat, which manufactures seating systems and other products for special needs children, bought its first Sprinter van in January 2010. It bought its second and third in May and June 2010, and it bought two more this year to complete its fleet.

Direct sales rep Derek Fletcher offers this example of his newfound efficiency: He can trek to his storage unit every few days to stock up instead of every day.

"It saves me at least an hour a day," says Fletcher, whose territory covers North Carolina, South Carolina and part of Virginia.

The Sprinter vans, which have Snug Seat's logo on them, also increase the professionalism and credibility of its sales reps, Scribner says.

"When they show up, our reps just look like they're ready for serious work," he said.

The icing on the cake: Buying the Sprinter vans hasn't cost Snug Seat any more than paying its direct sales reps car allowances, Scribner said.

"I did the analysis on it," he said. "They came out dead even."