Making the difference with a partnership approach

Andrew Glen, sales and marketing director for Mansfield Pollard, discusses the benefits of deeper collaboration between buyers and sellers and how it can generate improved value.

In an industry where relationships have often been typified as an adversarial exchange about cost, we at air management specialists Mansfield Pollard focus instead on working with our clients to develop tailored solutions that generate value.

From our Bradford headquarters we supply kitchen ventilation, air handling and acoustic control equipment to a global consumer base. Providing packaged solutions removes complexity, risk and cost from our clients’ projects and we believe this is a key source of competitive advantage for us.

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We are rewriting the traditional buyer/seller relationship through a partnership approach founded on a joint business planning process.

One of the keys to the success of our partnership-based approach is communication. It’s crucial that clients understand our capabilities and that we understand not only the nuances of a particular project but equally importantly what our clients’ long term business objectives are and the strategies which they follow to achieve them. Another key element is a disciplined approach to the creation of the joint business plan and its execution.

Our senior team are committed to this approach and provided there is a similar level of commitment from our partners the process is very successful and drives innovation in operations, processes and products. As an example, we have a client which gains competitive advantage through speed of response. In fact they endeavour to be onsite as quickly as 24 hours after they receive an enquiry.

We think that’s fantastic service but because of the distance between our respective offices we struggled to be as responsive to their needs as they were being to those of their clients. We identified this as a key issue during the joint business planning process and we’ve now offered to implant an engineer from our team into their business to ensure they get the speed of response they need and can quote more technically challenging kitchen ventilation projects.

The benefits are obvious for all: their proposition is enhanced and they will increase sales through the enhanced design capability which we’ve provided for them.

By employing this creative strategy, the adversarial nature of the relationship is eradicated and both parties can grow their businesses together. We are rolling out this joint business planning process to our major clients, creating bespoke relationships by tailoring service level agreements to each client’s needs.

We endeavour to match our priorities to our customers, and help them serve their customers better. We fix people’s problems and are flexible enough, and have the breadth of skills to be able to take on a broader range of projects and add real value, save costs, reduce complexity, and deliver on budget and on time.

Tailor-made solutions are a challenge but if it’s not challenging then we don’t get to demonstrate the value that the investment we’ve made in our capabilities can deliver. Growth in the kitchen ventilation business is one of our strategic priorities and we’ve been very encouraged by the success that we’ve enjoyed since we adopted this partnership approach.

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