Challenges for Remote Distributors: An Interview with Nelson Bello, Commercial Vice President at Aderca

The role of a distributor can be inherently challenging. Ensuring that the supplier has the necessary information and that the end user will receive the appropriate asset for their application, in the required time frame, often demands a significant amount of time, planning, and effort by the distributor. The added difficulty of addressing these needs in a remote location is a challenge that Nelson Bello, Commercial Vice President at Aderca, is very familiar with.

Fugitive Emissions Journal had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Bello about how he entered the world of industrial distribution, the challenges faced by industrial distributors in remote locations, and how these obstacles are overcome.

By Sara Mathov and Sarah Bradley

Gaining Experience

After completing his degree in Indus­trial Engineering from the Instituto Tec­nológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC) SK in his hometown Dominican Re­public, Bello embarked on his career journey working at then GTE-owned telephone company CODETEL. He gradually rose to the position of call center supervisor, an accomplishment that instilled in him a sense of per­sonal pride and satisfaction. “There is a wonderful feeling associated with achieving recognition for your work ef­forts, not because you are a member of a family, but because you competed against five candidates and you were the best one for that job,” explained Bello. “I recall that at that moment, I felt that I would be able to accom­plish many more achievements on my own.” In 1998 he obtained a diploma in International Business from Florida International University and, soon af­ter, received an offer to work at Aderca with his father.

“I was taught at a very young age that, just because my family had a company, it did not mean I was guaranteed a position there. I had to excel in what I was doing, and I had to bring value to the company.” Bello agreed to join the company on the condition that he could modern­ize it however he saw fit, and -to­gether with his brother and father-he quickly elevated the company to the next level.

The Day-to-Day

As a father, husband, and business­man in charge of a commercial team, Bello’s main concern every day is to create the necessary harmony be­tween the time looking after his cus­tomers and the time with his family. “After the confinement due to the pandemic, we all have learned how to use the tools available to work from wherever we are and be closer to our loved ones, without neglecting Ader­ca’s progress.”

“The elements I always take care of are my health and knowing the needs of my team in order to fulfill their activities and the progress made, as well as how I can support them,” continued Bello. “My customers, my team, and my family know that I am always a phone call away when they need me.”

Overcoming Challenges

The Dominican Republic is home to the largest economy in the Caribbe­an, driven by diverse sectors including mining, free trade zone manufactur­ing, and service industries. According to Bello, “The Dominican Republic has one of the highest GDP (Gross Domes­tic Product) growths in the region, with substantial business in the cement, electrical power, agriculture, and food and beverage segments. With such a diverse market, there is a continuous need for a large variety of industrial assets.” To facilitate the needs of his clients, Bello employs several strate­gies that help him overcome many of the difficulties distributors face.

One strategy he uses is to house products that have some form of cross-industry functionality. “Distrib­uting a product, such as a bearing, that is viable for numerous applica­tions mitigates the risk that the cus­tomer will request something that we do not supply, or that will have a significant lead time.”

Being aware of and anticipating the needs of his clients is another major focus for Bello. Given that the Domin­ican Republic is an island, Bello high­lighted that he must account for the added complexity of having to import raw materials and process them into finished goods. “While typically we can have our products delivered to the warehouse in Miami within a day, and subsequently to the Dominican Re­public the following day, the duration of the delivery can vary depending on factors such as the type and size of the package, as it may be subjected to cus­toms processes which can prolong the delivery time,” he explained.

“The Dominican Republic has great logistics connections and a well-pre­pared workforce, but in times of con­flict or turmoil, it is having sufficient stock that makes a significant dif­ference. As a distributor, I make it a constant goal to ensure that we have enough product to meet the essential requirements of our end users in case of any emergency situations.”

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies were forced to shut down or reduce operations to comply with government restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. How­ever, some companies were deemed essential and were allowed to con­tinue working to provide critical ser­vices to the public. Aderca was one such company that continued work­ing during the pandemic. “In fact, we grew more than 20% that year because we were open, providing a service,” explained Bello.

“Our success during that time was due in part to our strong relationships with manufacturers. By placing orders with them, we were able to secure priority delivery of specialized items, ensuring that we could meet their needs in a timely manner,” he added.

Developing Relationships

Bello also asserted that comprehend­ing cultural differences is a crucial aspect of conducting business on an international level. Numerous cultures must be taken into consideration to provide each client with the best over­all service possible. “For example, in the United States when you talk to someone you look them in the eye, and it shows that you are a trustworthy person. In Japan when you look in somebody’s eye for a long period of time, it is disrespectful. It is important to truly invest time into learning how to respect and work with each individ­ual as it makes a difference in the over­all experience,” continued Bello.

When asked about what he looks for in a distribution partner, Bello responded by emphasizing the importance of the bond between the leadership of man­ufacturing and distribution. Specifical­ly, he suggested that a strong personal connection between the supplier and distributor and the distributor and end user can significantly impact the suc­cess of the partnership. “That personal bonding makes all the difference in the world,” said Bello.

Looking Forward

When questioned about his future, Nelson explicitly distinguished his personal and professional future, stating that “even though it is a fam­ily company, the owners are not the company.” He expressed his desire to avoid excessive work-life integration that could potentially pose a threat to his personal life. His aim is to assist the company in expanding so it is “bigger and better than all its people together.” His personal goal is to con­tinue enjoying his work which allows him to travel, meet new people, and continue learning new things.

In terms of the Dominican Republic market’s future and its position in the global industrial landscape, Bello believes that as the country is in the center of North and South America, it has great logistic connections, which will allow it to continue to thrive in the industrial sector.

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