give a detailed description of your company and its history.
Arthur K. White, President: Kennedy-White Shutter Co. was founded in 2001 in Bonita Springs, FL. We manufacture custom, built-to-order plantation shutters. Our operations consist of a 15,000-square-foot, climate-controlled production facility with plans to expand to 37,000 square feet in the near future.
Kennedy-White Shutter Co. is one of eight White family owned businesses. We have been in manufacturing since 1965, and, after researching the shutter industry, we felt we could bring some experience to this market that would enable us to produce a high-quality product in half the standard industry time. We currently ship finished products nationwide in two weeks.
D&WC: Is your business computerized? Do you have a company Web site, and how is it used to communicate with customers?
White: We are firm believers that the proper computerization is critical in todayís business environment. We currently have an enterprise-wide computer system that enables us to take a proposed order to production in a matter of seconds.
All orders are bar-coded for tracking from production through shipping, which enables us to ensure all orders stay on schedule. Our customer care representatives are able to service our customers much more effectively by being able to view an entire order, and itís up-to-the-minute status with just a couple of key stokes at their work stations.
Our Web site, www.kennedywhite.com, provides our existing and prospective dealers 24/7 access to our personnel. We update the site with changes in technical information along with additions and changes to our products.
D&WC: Who are your customers? What parts of the country do you service?
White: We are a wholesale to the trade manufacturer, which services retail dealers, designers, builders and other millwork companies.
We worked very hard with several container companies to develop proprietary packaging that enables us to ship products worldwide economically and with a damage rate well below one percent. We understand our customers must receive our product quickly, timely and undamaged.
D&WC: What best describes your niche in the marketplace?
White: With competition from low-priced imports and no real barriers to entry domestically, we positioned ourselves in the market as a company with three competitive advantages.
1. The quality of product must be unquestioned, which we back up with a limited lifetime warrantee, in writing.
2. Customer service must exceed expectations and be consistent and timely, which we have accomplished through employing the best people and utilizing the best computer systems available.
3. Our two week delivery enables our customers to earn more business by providing their customers products in two weeks rather than their competitorsí six to eight weeks, which often times is a deal closer for Kennedy-White dealers.
D&WC: What are some of the key factors involved in your growth and success?
White: Kennedy-White has been able to grow by providing products and services to our customers that meet their specific needs. We are large enough to produce, finish and ship 1,200 panel orders in one week for time-sensitive jobs and small enough to give personal attention to each dealer to make sure each is getting exactly what he or she ordered.
Our customers asked us to produce a composite product and we have responded by added the LaPlaya product line in 2004. We have been looking for a composite product to produce for more than two years. We were not willing to produce an inferior product that would not be one of the best in the industry. With LaPaya we have found what we believe to be the best composite shutter available. Not only is it a great product, but we also ship it in less than one week.
D&WC: What distinguishes you from the competition?
White: We understand our role as a shutter supplier to our dealers, and whatever we can do to help them become more successful we are willing to do. Differentiation in this industry is very difficult, so we are working on developing products that will enable our dealers to offer unique products that will allow them to stand out from their competition.
One example is our specialty Designer Series that includes custom faux and textured finishes that homeowners can use to match existing finishes in their homes. Not only do our dealers have something unique to offer, but the margins are better due to their uniqueness.
Kennedy-White Shutter Co.
10940 Harmony Park Dr.
Bonita Springs, FL 34135
fax: 239 949-6570