Hoshizaki has taken extensive steps to ensure that both it and its dealers cannot fall foul of the CMA or be under suspicion of resale price maintenance as it rolls out its new dealer policy.
The manufacturer hired lawyers to precisely check the conditions and structure of the documents accompanying its new dealer programme to verify they do not infringe competition law, and has extensively trained its sales team on the policy to ensure that there is no ambiguity about what they are delivering to dealers.
With the CMA famously carrying out an 18-month investigation into the catering equipment sector starting in August 2014, all manufacturers need to ensure the sales agreements they have with partners do not breach competition guidelines.
Hoshizaki’s investment in getting the finer details of its programme looked at by legal professionals is designed to give peace of mind to existing and prospective dealers.
Simon Frost, Hoshizaki UK’s director of UK sales and chain accounts told Catering Insight: “We didn’t want to put anybody in a position where they were uncomfortable about signing the policy agreement.
“It’s key that we retain control of our brand and give dealers the comfort that there is some control in place that isn’t overstepping the mark in terms of dictating to them about price.”
The inclusive policy will see dealers, both traditional and online, selected to receive a host of exclusive benefits, discounts on purchases, rebates and business support, both logistically and in terms of ongoing sales assistance.
The dealer policy is the latest in a series of significant changes at the company since merging the Gram product offering into the Hoshizaki portfolio. Helping to deliver a clear route to market and supporting the ever-important dealer channel, the introduction of the policy is also designed to accomplish the consistent, outstanding customer service standards expected from the brand.
With a wide range of dealers being eligible for Hoshizaki’s new policy, the specific level of discount on equipment, rebates on purchases, unique special offers, selective marketing support and even free UK mainland deliveries, is dependent on a number of qualifying factors.
Two main tiers of distributor discount are available – platinum and gold, while Hoshizaki will be encouraging more occasional purchasers to order through a choice of wholesalers: Axon Enterprises or RH Hall.
Frost added: “Dealers form a key part of the future business strategy for Hoshizaki UK. As such we felt it important to create a policy that not only delivered consistency across the board, but also rewarded those businesses who continued to support us when specifying our equipment and technology for future projects.
“We are keen to rationalise the quantity of accounts handled directly, in doing so, working closely with our dealer partners to achieve the level of support and customer service expected by the operator purchasing Hoshizaki or Gram equipment.
“In addition to the improved customer service we expect this to achieve, the new policy will enable us to offer dealers a host of outstanding savings on equipment purchases, ongoing marketing support, free delivery within the UK mainland and even rebates on orders dependent on the specific details of the individual agreement.”
The new policy is now being rolled out to key dealers across the industry and will continue to evolve as more Hoshizaki partners are invited to take part going forward.
For an in-depth look at the policy and other current Hoshizaki developments, look out for the January 2018 issue of Catering Insight.