If the sentiment during the coronavirus crisis is ‘we’re all in this together’ it seems that some are more together than others.
These are definitely tough times for businesses, and the catering equipment supply chain has been hit very hard. It’s understandable that all the players in the industry are trying to recoup as many costs as they can when revenues are diving, but there’s a way to do that without spoiling relationships that have usually been built up over a number of years.
Dealers claim it has brought out the best and worst of suppliers – with some bending over backwards to provide flexibility and others playing more of a hardball approach when it comes to debt collection.
I can see that it must be irritating, if not business critical, to have invoices go unpaid, but those who claim to have received threats of legal action insist that should be a last resort in this climate.
Would it not be better for both parties to sit down and discuss a mitigating payment schedule? Surely there should be some appreciation that everyone is in a difficult situation at this time.
Strong-arm tactics leave a bitter taste in the mouth and will not be appreciated by the customer in each case. This destroys long-term alliances and will leave enterprises questioning whether they really want to do business with a partner that completely disregards the exceptional circumstances we now find ourselves in.
Leaving customers hurt and disappointed is hardly beneficial in the midst of a crisis. It just guarantees they will look elsewhere when the industry picks up again – and you would have cut your nose to spite your face.
I suggest we all need to think very carefully about our behaviour now, because competition is likely to be harsh in the next few years, and those that kick you when you are down will be firmly ignored when you rise again.