Building supplier partnerships

Aercos managing director, Rob Laughton, discusses the value of long-term supplier partnerships It’s a clich but the success of a franchise relationship between principal and distributor depends on a true partnership. I’ve heard people talk about such partnerships without understanding what is takes. Each partner must invest in the relationship. It is not the distributors stock package or principals discount structure: though both important. The greatest investments are time and emotional commitment to common objectives.

Aerco has developed 35 franchises and 18 product categories including cable, connectors, fans, fuses, solenoids and switches. This policy helps us address customers seeking vendor reduction in a realistic way. This has been a very successful element of Aerco’s recent business. However, it does create a need to spend time and effort on product training and developing good teamwork with the principals.

Aerco employs a team of product managers responsible for building great relationships on the supplier-side of our business. They manage stock, design marketing campaigns and set pricing policies. Most of all, they work on personal relationships with their suppliers and feed them information. For example, we are happy to provide stock lists and detailed point-of-sale information because we know it will be used to further promote our profile in the suppliers organisation.

Aerco’s DesignSupport team is another example of how we add value to our principals’ business while developing our own. This team of technical sales people works on design-in opportunities. This is a long-term commitment, with many projects taking over 12-months to move from initial concept to production quantities. Once we have won the design-in we can rely on our principals to help us retain that business for years after. The principals recognise the value that Aerco adds to their own sales team.