5 Ways Zanders Adds
Value To Its Customers


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Zanders’ Sparta, Ill., headquarters spans 150,000 sq. ft., operating a cutting-edge
Warehouse Management System to fulfill orders quickly and accurately.

For nearly 60 years, Zanders Sporting Goods has been committed to providing outstanding service and the resources its customers need to be successful.

Not only is Zanders a family-owned company, but an all-woman owned company — giving it a unique perspective in the firearms space. The team at Zanders recognizes the symbiotic nature of the firearms industry: As dealers have helped its business grow, Zanders is likewise committed to serving its customers and supporting their businesses.

In the face of an unprecedented time, Zanders has made key refinements to its business so it can better serve its dealers well into the future. Here are five ways Zanders is adding value to its base of storefront retailers.

1. Warehouse Enhancements

Prior to the onset of the pandemic, Zanders had plans in place to streamline its warehouse operations through investing in upgraded software and machinery.

“During summer 2020, we initiated Phase One installation of our new Warehouse Management System (WMS),” shared Herb Seeger, Zanders CIO. “It wasn’t exactly the most opportune time to take on this initiative, given the incredible business demand we experienced. However, we felt the need to press on.”

The revamped WMS immediately increased the number of orders Zanders could fulfill in its 144,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Sparta, Ill., according to Seeger.

”We pride ourselves on taking care of our customers and consider them partners the same way we do our vendors. We’ll continue to carry this approach through as we have in the past.”

Stefanie Zanders • President + COO Zanders Sporting Goods

“This upgrade consolidated a number of antiquated software technologies and allowed us to automate manual processes that essentially doubled the amount of orders we could process in a given period of time,” he said.

Seeger announced Phase Two’s implementation will further accelerate Zanders’ ability to serve its customers.

“The initial phase of this new technology primarily focused on increasing the efficiency of how we process orders from our vertical storage carousels and included automated conveyors, enhanced picking/packing technologies and corrugate machines. Phase Two was implemented Q3 2021, and included many of the same enhancements with more of a surgical focus on our storage racking and receiving department,” he stated.

Simply, this advanced, integrated system means orders will leave Zanders’ warehouse more efficiently, accurately and in greater numbers.

“The entire Zanders warehouse is now operating under one system, further increasing our throughput and eliminating the need for expensive integration methods,” Seeger added.

2. Variety Of Product

Despite the supply of firearms and ammunition coming under considerable strain over the past 18 months, Zanders dealers have been able to take advantage of other options in the wholesaler’s diverse product portfolio — which totals 40,000 SKUs.

In the years leading up to the current state of frenzied demand, Zanders worked to diversify its product offerings — focusing on archery products and hunting/camping accessories. Over the past year, sales of archery products in particular have been a shining light for dealers. Ravin Crossbows is a standout performer, with Zanders offering more than 40 SKUs from the company.

Even when there are limited guns and ammunition to offer, Zanders dealers can be confident in its expertise to procure in-demand products for them to sell in their stores in any market.

Diane Muench is just one of many Zanders employees with 20+ years’ tenure. Though the days of using
shopping carts to move product are long gone, the goal of serving customers remains the same!

3. Valuing Relationships

The key to success in any business is relationships — especially those in the close-knit firearms industry. Valuing relationships with its vendor partners (those at the manufacturing level) has been a cornerstone of Zanders’ business philosophy for decades.

For example, Zanders has had great success over the past 18 months thanks to Smith & Wesson’s flexible manufacturing model and responsive representatives. The cooperative effort has benefited both organizations.

“We’ve had the pleasure of working with Zanders for many years,” said Sue Cupero, Smith & Wesson VP of sales. “They have continued to support our products and programs over the years. We appreciate the support and partnership we’ve had with Zanders as 2020 was certainly a challenging year. We’ve had a great relationship and look forward to working together in the future.”

Browning, Ruger, Winchester and Savage have also been crucial partners. These relationships, and others, have afforded Zanders the ability to continue serving dealers.

4. Engaged & Responsive Management Team

Setting the standard for serving vendors and dealer customers starts at the top of the organization. The Zanders management team is both responsive and engaged to the needs of employees who represent the company’s ideals to customers every day.

“We are continually working to foster relationships in an effort to establish a good rapport with our manufacturers. We want to grow that and continue to be partners,” said Stefanie Zanders, company president and COO. “We pride ourselves on taking care of our customers and consider them partners the same way we do our vendors. We’ll continue to carry this approach through as we have in the past.”

Zanders’ management team is also flexible, enabling it to adapt to changing times — exemplified by the recent promotion of Michael Sutton to the position of procurement manager after a 23-year tenure as a buyer for the company.

Sutton’s main responsibilities will be to analyze industry trends and market demand while monitoring inventory levels through improved supply chain management — further refining existing purchasing procedures and policies to better serve customers.

“As procurement manager, I’ll make sure Zanders continues to grow in key areas, while maintaining a consistent flow of inventory for our dealers.
Improved communication and visibility with our partners is a primary focus, while continuing to make Zanders a key distributor in all categories,” Sutton stated.

Zanders has implemented a new warehouse management system to enhance many core
processes — including automated conveyors, improved picking/packing technologies and more.

5. The Exclusive Impala Plus Line

Early 2020, Zanders became the exclusive importer and distributor of the Impala Plus line of shotguns from Turkey-based manufacturer Istanbul Silah. Generating impressive year-one sales, this new line has filled a hole in the market — garnering positive reviews from stocking dealers.

“The dealer feedback we have received has been extremely positive. Zanders Impala shotguns come in multiple color variations, finishes, barrel lengths and more,” said Stefanie Zanders. “Our customers love the quality and wide selection of Impala Plus shotguns Zanders offers, at a very competitive price point in the marketplace.”

Zanders offers a variety of SKUs and — crucially — has been able to maintain a consistent supply of options for dealers since its debut on the market. This partnership with Istanbul Silah has added a new dimension to Zanders’ offerings.

“Zanders Sporting Goods is a leading distributor in the firearms sector because they have been in the business for generations. Through this partnership, Zanders has gained an even deeper understanding of the manufacturing process, from design to end-user experience,” noted Erol Kurt, owner of Istanbul Silah.

6. Exceeding Expectations, Every Day

All members of the Zanders Sporting Goods team are focused on the same goal: serving dealers and helping them grow to expand the shooting sports to consumers of all backgrounds and interest levels.

“Our customers have always come first and we strive to go above and beyond their expectations every day. Both old and new customers alike will enjoy our ever-growing inventory of outdoor products and accessories as well as our commitment to ensure their complete satisfaction,” Stefanie Zanders concluded.

To learn more about partnering with Zanders to benefit your business, and to take advantage of its many dealer programs, visit gzanders.com.