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ISSA sponsors ECJ Distributor Focus17th of September 2012
ECJ has published a special supplement dedicated to the cleaning industry's distributors and the issues they face in running their businesses successfully in today's changing market - Distributor Focus.
Distributor Focus is sponsored by the global industry association ISSA, which has its headquarters in the USA. Executive director John Garfinkel writes in his foreword for the supplement:
ISSA is very proud to sponsor this first ever Distributor Focus published by our friends at European Cleaning Journal.
All too often, be it in Europe or further afield, the critical role of the distributors in our industry, is overlooked or their importance downplayed. So often many are inclined to forget that the distributors are in many ways the superglue binding the manufacturer and end customer together.
At its very simplest without distributors, that line manufactured by a small company in the north of UK wouldn't be in use now throughout the Ukraine. Similarly without the knowledge and service delivery of the distributor that care home owner would not have such a rich and informed choice of products that absolutely meet the particular cleaning needs of his or her location.
In my role with ISSA, distributors are of course close to my heart. As you may already know, ISSA started as an association in 1923 to represent the interests of distributors and currently there are over 2,000 distributor members of ISSA globally. I therefore have particular reason to strongly applaud the pioneering initiative that ECJ has shown here and hope that it will be but the first of frequent reports focusing on the distribution sector.
However before we get ahead of ourselves in looking to the future, I hope you too will enjoy and be informed by the contents of this supplement in your hands right now. Read on for valuable insights and to see how you can improve and grow your distributor business or how you can get the best from your chosen distributor. You will also find some not-to-be-missed articles on what defines a good distributor; whether size of operation matters; logistics; implementing technology to help improve your business; sustainability; future trends; and the importance of partnerships.
Mastering such topics is vital for today's distributors in the changing world that they face on a daily basis. On this note, with a still extraordinarily tight economy in many key European markets and with different online logistics competitors altering the very structure of the sector, some might fear that the value of service has been lost and that the initial purchase price is now the only criteria in the buyers mind rather than the lifetime cost or the actual cleaning performance offered a product.
However many studies thankfully have proven that a clear majority prefer to deal with a local distributor and value having a personal relationship with an expert and informed distributor. Ally this to the incredible, knowledge, passion and professionalism exhibited by many of the distributors who I have been fortunate enough to meet on my travels to Europe and I have no doubt that good distributors will be able to more than hold their own - whatever external trends or forces are thrown at them.
In conclusion if after reading this you would like to share your views on the issues affecting distributors, or if you have constructive thoughts on how the manufacturer-distributor-building services contractor relationship could be improved still further please do share them. Myself, Keith Baker (ISSA's director of European Services) and of course ECJ's editor Michelle Marshall would all love to hear from you.
I would also encourage you to visit www.issa.com where you will find resources designed to help distributors such as market studies, information on educational sponsorships that ISSA offers distributors and their family members, plus a range of best practice Quick Clips.