SupplyForce, the integrated supply/national account solution provider spun off from Affilated Distributors, King of Prussia, Pa.,  in 1999, has merged with Vanguard National Alliance (VNA), Marlborough, Mass. VNA  focuses on providing nationwide support of national account contracts through its network of Rockwell Automation distributors.

The combined entity will operate under the SupplyForce name, with VNA technically a subsidiary of SupplyForce.  It will have existing contracts worth $400 million and more than 3,500 branch locations from which to serve customers.

The merger has been in the works for more than a year, spurred by the heavy overlap in membership and their desire for a single offering to present to national MRO customers, John Ludlam, president of SupplyForce, told Electrical Marketing newsletter. “The two groups had a ton in common, and instead of focusing on competing with each other, we wanted to focus on the real competition in the marketplace,” Ludlam said. “Over 70% of VNA members already were members of SupplyForce, so there was a lot of redundancy and extra cost.”

In its offerings to customers, the expanded organization now can provide an authorized source of just about any electrical product on the market. Through Vanguard, SupplyForce gains members covering every Rockwell APR in North America. “Besides Rockwell, we have 20 members who have Schneider, we’ve got GE, Siemens,” Ludlam said. “If a customer wants to buy something, we have an authorized channel for it.”

And with SupplyForce, the offering goes well beyond electrical. The group includes distributors in industrial mill supplies; electronics; filtration; pipe, valves & fittings; janitorial and sanitation; and safety supplies. SupplyForce also has procurement services and spot-buy processes to fill any gaps on a customer’s tool crib shelves.

SupplyForce continues to have a relationship with Affiliated Distributors, but going forward any distributor with a Rockwell APR location can be part of SupplyForce even if they’re not an AD member.