Industry buying consortium ENSE has revealed the winners of its awards this year at its virtual spring conference.
Taking place online from 23-25 March, the event included the presentations for the buying group’s most successful distributor and supplier members over the past 12 months. The consortium facilitates £400m of trade annually, representing 70 dealers.
The big winner of the awards was the Airedale Group, which was recognised as Distributor of the Year for the first time. This category was voted on by ENSE supplier members, who rewarded the Bradford-based dealer for supporting 65% of suppliers within the group.
Barry Acton, head of group commercial strategy at Airedale Group said: “Airedale is delighted to receive the award of ENSE Distributor of the Year. It is a testament to the relationships we have developed with our supply chain partners over a number of years.
“Whilst 2020 was the toughest trading environment in living memory, if anything, these relationships have only been strengthened through this period. We would like to thank all of the ENSE suppliers for their votes and for their ongoing support. We’d also like to put on record our appreciation for the work Bob Adams, Ben Sherriff and all at ENSE do behind the scenes.”
While Airedale’s supply chain manager Josh Tordoff posted about the event on LinkedIn: “It was great to catch up with multiple suppliers and perhaps most importantly getting to hear how positive everybody was when discussing a potential recovery within the industry.
“And to top it all off, we won The Distributor of the Year Award! Thank you to everybody that voted and thanks again to Bob and Ben for organising everything.”
Another trophy winner voted by ENSE suppliers was Advantage Catering Equipment for the Directors Award. This was also the Folkestone-based distributor’s first victory and recognised the company growing its business with the consortium by 12% while supporting over 70% of ENSE suppliers.
In the Distributor Newcomer of the Year category, the GS Group scooped the prize. ENSE praised: “As a new member to ENSE, GS Group has proven to be a committed member of the community by supporting the training initiative, helping ENSE suppliers obtain more business and driving substantial turnover.” The distributor’s director Simeon Massey reacted to the win, posting on LinkedIn: “We are very proud to announce that Team GS Catering Equipment won the ENSE Award for Newcomer of the Year, after only 5 months of joining.”
Elsewhere, CCE was the Training Champion Award winner for having the most salespeople attending training in 2020. Ray Costelloe, MD of the Essex-based distributor, tweeted: “I really have to say the dedication and hard work is really down to the fantastic girls and guys of the CCE team. These wonderful hardworking people are truly a credit to themselves and an inspiration to work with – product knowledge comes with honest commitment.”
On the supplier side of things, leading the winning pack was Rational as Capital Equipment Supplier of the Year, voted on by the consortium’s distributor members. ENSE detailed: “Rational scooped this win for the first time because of their ability to work with individual distributors, offer great support and great customer service. They also provided new products and a transparent pricing scheme through the pandemic.”
Rational UK MD Simon Lohse commented: “We’re absolutely thrilled to pick up this award. It’s especially important because it’s the dealers who vote for it – so to win it is a real boost for us.
“We work very closely with ENSE and its dealer network. Being a supplier partner to the consortium is vital to the success of our strategic dealer development. Events like this conference let us network with our ENSE dealer partners, building relationships and addressing issues.
“The award underlines the close relationship we have with ENSE and its dealer members, and I’d like to thank everyone who voted for us.”
For the second consecutive year, the First Choice Group claimed victory in the Associated Products/Services Supplier of the Year Award. The accolade is for a supplier which provides services to the community but does not sell traditional kit, and is voted on by distributors. ENSE tweeted that the win was an “amazing achievement to all involved”.
While the Light Equipment Supplier of the Year winner was another consecutive victor, in Nevilles. ENSE tweeted that the second win in a row for the tableware supplier was because: “Through the pandemic, Nevilles looked for ways to modify and improve their business to help the distributor community. As a result, they were able to grow their business share, despite the circumstances.”
At the other end of the scale, a first time winner was CED Fabrications, scooping the Sales Support Supplier of the Year trophy. ENSE detailed: “Having grown their market share within the community for the third consecutive year, along with their professionalism and customer service they consistently delivery every day, CED Fabrications was ultimately chosen as the winner by the distributor community.” CED’s sales director, Stuart Russell, posted on LinkedIn: “Amazing news on winning such a prestigious award voted by our loyal customers. Great team effort and very proud to work with my CED colleagues.”
Rounding off the victors, Trak Hupfer was recognised as the New Supplier of the Year. In its first full year as an ENSE member, and despite the pandemic, Trak Hupfer was able to sell to over 25% of all distributors, which given it is a project-led product, was described by ENSE as “a remarkable achievement”. A special mention was made for the company’s “outstanding customer service record and support they have offered to the distributors this year”.
Both Trak and Hupfer’s Twitter accounts tweeted: “We’re thrilled to have picked up the New Supplier of the Year Award – we couldn’t be prouder of the Trak/Hupfer team!”
ENSE MD Bob Adams summed up: “We are so proud that our membership, by bonding together through ENSE, has battled through this challenging time. We felt it was essential as we begin our recovery from the pandemic, to applaud some of the significant successes of our members in this complex year.”