Industrial national accounts and integrated supply programs have proven to be lucrative for Affiliated Distributors, Inc. (A-D) and its distributor members, so the Wayne, Pa.-based buying/marketing group is hoping to repeat its success by applying many of the same ideas to the commercial and contractor markets. A-D rolled out its Commercial Sales and Services (CSS) program last month at the network meetings of its Electrical Supply Division (ESD).

The program targets property managers, real estate developers, hospitals, universities, hotels and motels, retail firms and other kinds of commercial customers, offering them a nationwide network of independent distributors with experience in the commercial market.

The CSS program will use the infrastructure that was developed to support A-D's industrial integrated-supply and national-account initiatives. That infrastructure includes field sales and inside sales support personnel, plus the services of the A-D technology group. A-D also will be adding or redirecting parts of its existing field sales organization to support the program, with regional sales directors providing "executive sales support" for the group's affiliates on commercial accounts, said Steve Ruane, director of marketing for A-D. Those sales directors will be hired throughout 1998, he said.

For the time being, the CSS will focus strictly on the electrical market rather than trying to integrate other construction and maintenance supply product categories into the mix, Ruane said.

A-D will offer commercial customers similar services to those it offers industrial customers on multi-site networked electrical contracts, such as centralized billing, standardized products and coordination among the members handling the account.

The group also will offer new services specially developed for the commercial market, such as lighting audits and energy-efficient upgrades and retrofits.