PH Vitres d’Autos/ Nationwide Auto Glass
Auto glass distributor
Primary market: Quebec, Ontario, Atlantic Canada
Number of employees: 325
Co-presidents: Stephen Bray/ Mario Jutras
A smashing success
The automotive industry is one of North America’s largest. Less well-known is the fact that the automotive aftermarket sector, which includes parts suppliers such as PH Vitres D’Autos, is almost just as big. The company, founded by Paul Jutras, whose son Mario Jutras, is currently co-president (along with Stephen Bray, a charted accountant), specializes in the sale, distribution, and installation of automobile windshields and windows.
“It’s a tough business, because there are many types of vehicles and windows and clients expect us to stock them all,” says Bray, who joined PH Vitres D’Autos after a stint at one of Canada’s largest auditing firms. “That means service is key. If we don’t have a product in stock, we need to be able to get it … fast.”
Moving the 150,000 SKUs that the company stocks from its 20 warehouses to its more than 8,000 active customers is a big job. To do that, PH Vitres D’Autos (which is known in Ontario as Nationwide Auto Glass and in the Maritimes as Atlantic Windshield) has set-up a massive distribution network, which it services using 225 mobile units that travel daily along roads covering an area of over 200,000 square kilometers.
However constant improvements are needed to stay ahead of the curve in this $400 million industry. High gas prices and legislation forcing use of snow tires have significantly increased distribution costs across Canada. “We expect continued consolidation as companies try to increase returns to scale,” says Bray, who was a merger and acquisitions specialist during his accounting career. “As a result, we are looking for new companies to buy. In this business you either eat, or you get eaten.”
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Peter Diekmeyer Communications Inc.