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Beth Ann Smith Steers Williams Trading Co. to Success

Ariana Rodriguez

When your business is keeping the retail market fresh by distributing top sex toys to retailers nationwide, a dedicated leader that keeps the team organized and focused is vital in keeping business thriving.

For more than 35 years, Williams Trading Co. has been distributing adult goods throughout the U.S. Established as a family business, Beth Ann Smith joined her father and siblings to take over novelty buying and inventory control.

Being one of six owners and working together toward the goal of continued upward growth is challenging in and of itself.

“That means I am responsible for the purchasing of our 17,000-plus inventory,” Smith said. ”My subsequent roles include organizing price increases, updating item changes and discontinues and assisting in the implementing of monthly sales.”

Smith’s previous role as inventory control manager for Home Depot prepared her for her current duties. “It was because of my organizational skills and prior management experience that prompted me to join the family business to help facilitate its continued growth,” Smith said.

Smith has made great strides in her position since joining Williams Trading Co., including restructuring warehouse operations, both in its physical layout and optimizing picking procedures.

Smith said she worked with Patty Sullivan of Dominion Software Consulting to realize her goal aimed of improving the accuracy and efficiency of operations, including picking, managing inventory reorder points, quantity and fill volumes, as well as making sure the best practices are followed in purchasing and inventory management.

“She and I worked together to adapt the operations software to support these objectives,” Smith said. ”Because of these initiatives and my ability to manage the ‘big picture’ of long-term goals, we have become more efficient as a company.”

Driven by a simple motto of “work hard and live life to the fullest,” Smith has overcame several obstacles both professional and personally — the latter exemplified by Smith’s triumph over breast cancer and battling diabetes, which Smith says has made her “appreciate everything in life.”

“The biggest challenge I’ve faced since becoming an owner in the family business is that of working as part of the ownership team,” Smith said. “Being one of six owners and working together toward the goal of continued upward growth is challenging in and of itself. The challenges as a buyer are to keep up with the industry trends as well as inventory highs and lows. Keeping our fill rate above 90 percent is a consistent goal that requires a watchful eye; I now have eyes behind my head, ha!”

Smith has big plans for Williams Trading Co. for 2012. “I’d like to see our continued growth as a company, improve our fill rate to near 100 percent, keep all of our customers satisfied and for our team to continue improving in all areas of the business.”

Williams Trading Co.’s customer base covers all types of adult businesses, such as brick and mortar adult stores and boutiques, mail order, adult websites, home party consultants and international adult businesses and exporters.

Last year, Williams Trading extended its business to offer an e-commerce solution for selling adult toys. SexToyStoreBuilder.com allows anyone to be the owner of an online adult toy store, with backing of Williams Trading Co. at their fingertips.

With SexToyStoreBuildier, Williams Trading Co. provides real-time inventory tracking updated every 24 hours, as well as all aspects of website hosting and maintenance, drop-shipping and 100 percent or more mark-up on everything sold.

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