Is there scope for catering equipment suppliers to develop more sophisticated partner programmes aimed at rewarding and incentivising dealers for the volume of work they do and the opportunities they develop?
It is a question that continues to leave the channel undecided, but one that remains pertinent given the crowded and often cut-throat nature of the market.
Tim Taylor, MD of Ecomax Catering, is unsure if the tier system is the answer, but agrees that more protection needs to be put in place for distributors that are genuinely investing in developing a brand. “If we lose an order to another dealer who is doing all the right things, it is one of those things. You pick yourself up and move on. It is when it is lost for all the wrong reasons that it is frustrating. I think there probably needs to be a frank and open discussion in order to build stronger ties between suppliers and distributors,” he said.
The weapon of choice for a lot of manufacturers today remains retrospective rebates, which typically tends to kick in once a certain volume threshold is met. However, Jack Sharkey, MD of Vision Commercial Kitchens, says there is evidence of more merit-based rewards systems emerging.
“There are some manufacturers out there that are structuring their discount structures based on your showroom facilities, the training you have received and whether you offer after-sales service, and warranty from a service desk point of view. ‘Have you specified the product?’ is a new one that has just come out onto the market from a couple of manufacturers.
"If you specified the product you get rewarded with an extra discount structure. That is evolving at the moment, and I think it will continue to evolve depending on how successful it is.”