Knape & Vogt President Peter Martin Talks Collaboration with NBMDA

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Grand Rapids, MI – Knape & Vogt’s president and CEO, Peter Martin, sat down with the North American Building Material Distribution Association (NBMDA) and talked about the company’s collaborative relationship with its distributors. Throughout the interview, Martin elaborated upon themes of communication, adaptation to change, and education.

Martin talked about how Knape & Vogt’s relationship with its distributors shifted as a result of the Great Recession. To survive the recession, KV and its distributors needed to collaborate which changed their dynamic by creating more open communication even after the economy recovered.

Martin makes a point of attending NBMDA’s Tabletop Sessions where he can talk to KV’s top distributors to discuss issues and gain a greater understanding of what’s on their minds. Knowing the issues that are most important to its distributors helps KV develop programs tailored to meet each customer’s unique needs rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

Knape & Vogt also embraces an “everybody sells” ideology in which KV’s finance guys talk to their distributors’ finance guys; operations to operations; marketing to marketing. Everyone in every role aims to make it easier to do business with KV.

Adapting to change was another theme in the interview. Companies are still figuring out how to take full advantage of post-recession growth. Martin says that the distributors who are growing are the ones who are trying new things, bringing in new products, and adapting to change.

One significant change is the shift to e-commerce. More Americans are shopping over the web. And manufacturers and distributors are increasingly connecting via the web as well—from streamlining the ordering process to enhancing customer service. While KV has adopted more web-based interaction, the company still communicates face-to-face with distributors who prefer conventional interaction.

Martin also emphasized the importance of education. As the industry offers more technology-based products such as soft-closing mechanisms and electrical devices to open and close drawers, distributors need to learn how to sell product features rather than emphasizing price.

He says that manufacturers and distributors need to collaborate in order to educate end-users. For example, many distributors and end-users don’t fully understand the risks and costs associated with importing products from overseas. Manufacturers need to educate them that “Made in America” is a good thing in terms of reduced cost and reduced risk.

The entire interview was published in NBMDA’s “Channel Connection” blog and newsletter. It is available to read at A PDF of this interview may be downloaded here: Collaboration Is Key at Knape & Vogt.


NBMDA is a trade association representing the leading wholesale distributors of wood panels, surfacing materials, cabinet hardware, finishes and related products. Membership is comprised of distributors and manufacturers that serve the independent building material, lumber, and kitchen and bath dealer, regional and national home centers, as well as those that serve production companies involved in cabinetry, architectural woodwork, stock woodwork, store fixtures, solid surface fabricating, plastics fabricating, general and specialty woodworking industries. For more information, visit

About Knape & Vogt

For everyone who appreciates the value of a product built right, Knape & Vogt has been a rock-solid resource for industry (OEMs), cabinetmakers, and homeowners for more than a century. Quality materials, uncompromising manufacturing standards and intelligent engineering define KV products that are in-use by millions around the world every day. The team creating these products represents the best of American engineering, manufacturing, and marketing—845 professionals who come together each day with an aim of harnessing the potential in steel, wood, and advanced materials. We continually refine our designs, our processes, and the way we move our products to market in order to improve the value we deliver.