When you open this issue of SSGM, not only will you read Bob Greenwood's annual business survey, but you also find a report on a survey SSGM did asking independent service providers how often they are...
When you open this issue of SSGM, not only will you read Bob Greenwood’s annual business survey, but you also find a report on a survey SSGM did asking independent service providers how often they are personally visited by representatives in such categories as Jobbers, warehouse distributors and providers, and association and training representatives. I won’t bother to repeat our findings, as you can see them for yourself.
But what I do want to emphasis here the need for everyone, especially those providing training and industry associations, to do a much better job of listening to what the independent service providers need. And that can only come from actually going out and spending time with technicians and shop owners. Too often associations, training groups and others in this industry talk a lot about knowing what the independent service providers want. But the survey suggests there is a fundamental disconnect between the independent service provider and those that are meant to represent their interests and provide needed services, supplies and parts. This should not be the case, considering the business and competitive pressures many shops are experiencing. These shops and their owners and technicians are counting on industry associations, training groups, warehouse distributors, tool truck providers and Jobbers to help them get what they need to compete effectively. Talking about what the industry needs without actually going out and meeting those in the industry is just not going to work. And it is a bit embarrassing when, in some cases, sales representatives for local media get out more often to see the independent service providers than the many others who really need to be knocking on their doors.
This disconnect of communications is not unique to the independent service provider industry. Having covered a wide range of industries in my time, from high-tech to woodworking and plastics, I can say that this problem in endemic across industries.
I can’t say there is a simple solution to all this, something that can be put into place right away and everything will be fine the next day. If that was the case, I become a consultant and make a fortune getting everyone to do it. There are probably many things that can be done, but the first step regardless of what solutions is chosen, is having to listen to the independent service providers. So I’d like to offer a chance at getting that first step going. I’m going to ask the independent service providers to write to SSGM about what their concerns are for this industry, and what they would like to see the associations, warehouse distributors, Jobbers and the others in our survey do to better tackles those issues. Supply suggestions and program improvements if you can, small or large, and ways everyone can better listen to what you have to say and to use that feedback to make things better for everyone.
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