Monday, October 23, 2017
Congratulations to Centro, Inc's chief financial officer, Alan Waxler, who was named one of four finalists in Memphis Business Journal's CFO of the Year in the small private company category. The following is an interview conducted by the MBJ. This article appeared in the Memphis Business Journal on October 20, 2017 on page 21.
What company does: Industrial distributor and manufacturer’s representative
Background: B.B.A., University of Memphis
How’s business? Total sales are up a modest 2.3 percent. We have increased our bottom line by reducing overhead expenses by nearly 6 percent. We didn’t achieve these reduced expenses by involuntary layoffs.
Biggest challenge at the moment: We are adding our first robotics line to serve the growing market for discreet manufacturing.
What will change in the next year? We will continue to expand our presence in e-commerce and Automation & Control with double-digit growth in those areas in 2018.
How do you measure success? By continuing to provide our employees a sense of ownership in the success of Centro.
Biggest business weakness: An ERP system that limits our ability to grow in e-commerce, is difficult to learn and lacks business tools we need to efficiently grow
Biggest risk: Centro bought the stock of a stockholder who retired in 2015, as a recession in the industrial market began. The debt from this transaction exceeded the debt from the seven acquisitions in 2012.
Favorite task: Due diligence review for acquisitions and analyzing new business plans for our strategic plan. It is an opportunity to look outside our world at Centro and gain knowledge from other successful businesses.
Most challenging task: Providing quality health care insurance for our employees that is both affordable to the employees and to Centro.
What’s in the short-term future? Continuing to grow our e-commerce platform to gain additional market share and convert our classroom-style Centro College to a virtual video conference in 2018.
Five-year plan: Implement a new ERP system; grow e-commerce business to $20 million and the Automation & Control division to $12 million; complete two or three company acquisitions; and grow the business organically, with new product lines and additional territories, to $80 million.