Barnes Distribution Case Study


Since working with Avatar, MSC Industrial Direct Co. Inc. purchased Barnes Distribution.

Barnes Distribution is the result of a merger between Bowman Distribution and Curtis Industries. It is an international distributor of industrial fasteners, hardware and supplies.  Barnes’ product line features more than 32,000 SKUs.  The company’s sales force consists of 600 full time representatives, located throughout North America.


Barnes needed a more comprehensive approach to training new field sales representatives and engaged Avatar to first develop a master syllabus, or career path development plan.  This consisted of more than 130 courses, each defined in great detail. From this plan, Barnes and Avatar selected the 12 most important subjects and developed comprehensive education and training curricula to be delivered by regional sales managers. The managers had no prior formal preparation for providing adult learning.


The project initially consisted of developing ten courses to be delivered in a workshop setting by regional sales managers. Barnes and Avatar agreed to limit the timeline to 15 weeks so the client could introduce the new courses at its already-scheduled international sales meeting. Avatar developed all of the materials on time and within budget. Additionally, we created two additional courses to prepare the regional sales managers to effectively deliver the learning. Although not part of the original proposal, Avatar developed very effective ready-reference cards for use immediately before sales presentations.  These clever and easy-to-use reference cards greatly improved the confidence levels of the field sales people and helped them achieve success.


Barnes proudly introduced the new curriculum to its worldwide sales staff as “the most professional and effective sales training ever before seen in the industry.” Ultimately, Barnes’ sales continued to grow as a result of Avatar’s approach.