Who else is looking for a new supplier?

Martin Nettleton, managing director of Euroglaze, asks if it is possible to become institutionalised to bad service.

Given what we all know has happened during lockdown, Euroglaze can’t be the only medium-sized Rehau fabricator suddenly getting an influx of calls from companies looking for a new supplier.

What is surprising to me is how many of them, absolutely through no fault of their own, have come to expect, or at least accept, levels of service that would trigger an internal investigation if they ever occurred at Euroglaze.

In almost all the conversations I’ve had with potential new customers, there has been real surprise when I have pointed out that they don’t need to accept bad service in order to get good value.

What I’m trying to do, and I’m sure lots of other MDs in my position are as well, is communicate the fact that price and value are not the same thing. We all know that a drive to the bottom on price benefits no one in the industry, and yet it has been allowed to happen time and again and, post lockdown, there is a very real danger that it will return.

We need to get the message across that selling product at prices that are so low that margins are unsustainable is a recipe for disaster, not just for the supplier but for the customer as well.

By contrast, value comes from knowing that your product will be delivered within a guaranteed lead time, that the order will be complete and on time, and that if anything on your order is not in stock, then you’ll be notified and offered an alternative at the point the order is placed. That kind of consistent, reliable service means you don’t have to spend your own precious time chasing your supplier for deliveries or updates and sorting out incomplete or incorrect orders.

It also means you don’t erode your own margins by having to send your fitters out more than once to finish jobs they should have been able to do in one go and, more importantly, you don’t risk your hard-earned reputation with social media savvy retail customers.

We’re at a point where, as an industry, we should be pushing at an open door when it comes to rejecting the old ways and recognising that service and value can actually go hand in hand.

Efficient, well-run fabricators, like Euroglaze, are lining up to show customers exactly what they have been missing for all these years.

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