Foodservice Equipment Reports

TALKING ABOUT REAL ISSUES

One of the reasons I've always liked Rick Ellingson, my longtime friend, principal at Bargreen Ellingson, and a FEDA past-president, is that he's never been afraid to tell you what he thinks. If you don't believe me, ask him "Who's the customer?" sometime. And one of the things he thinks about, cogently, are channel issues in this very complicated foodservice equipment and supplies market. I recommend you all read a piece he wrote for the May/June issue of FEDA News & Views.

Rick, Mike Whiteley from Hatco, and Prof. Michael Workman of Texas A&M discussed channel issues at the most recent FEDA meeting in March. Rick came away hungry for more. Basing their discussions in part on a survey FEDA did in January with dealers and manufacturers, they broached real issues: buying groups, rebates, inconsistent pricing and discount structures, non-traditional distribution models (read Internet), mutual trust. "This was a wake-up call," Ellingson said in News & Views. "No one is going to fix this for us. If we care to move beyond the moaning stage, we need the dialogue to not only continue, but escalate."

As Ellingson notes, the good news is that both dealers and manufacturers appear to be in synch on defining the key issues. I agree with Rick: We'd better address them, or, as he said, "our options and abilities will be drastically diminished." In life and business, if you don't try to control your future, it controls you.



Robin Ashton
Publisher

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