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For Us At MHEDA, It’s All About You

Your success is MHEDA’s only reason for being. It is the foundation for every activity we conduct, whether an educational program, industry benchmarking report, networking event or publication. “To improve the proficiency of the material handling equipment distributor” is our primary mission, and every service we offer to members is measured against this mission.

In the pages of this issue, you will see the common theme of customer service. Many members have shared their insights about customer service and what that means to their organizations. At MHEDA, our members are the lifeblood of this association. If we don’t provide value to you, our customers, we cease to have relevance and will, ultimately, cease to exist.

Jason Effing, general manager of Blue Arc Engineering, discusses the value of customer surveys. You’ve heard about MHEDA’s strategic planning process many times before, but it is the organizational engine of this association and drives everything we do. The first, most critical step in this process is to conduct an environmental analysis to gauge the dynamic and changing environment in which we operate. A very important part of that analysis comes from the results of MHEDA’s membership survey, which will be emailed to you in late May. Please take a few minutes of your time to give us your feedback about the programs we are offering and, more important, the challenges you face in your business today. Armed with this information, MHEDA’s Board of Directors will continue to plan programs and develop products to serve you and your associates.

What Your Customers Want
What questions are you asking your customers? At Convention this year, we are going to ask some pointed questions during the Customer Panel discussion, and I encourage you to be on hand to hear the responses. Uncovering your customers’ own customer service philosophy will provide you with better insight on how to best serve the valuable end-user. For example, wouldn’t you like your customers to tell you:

• How can your business partners in the material handling industry have the most positive impact on your business?

• Do you base your buying decisions more on the strength and reputation of a product or on the merits of a local dealer’s capabilities?

• What’s more desirable to your business, a full-service provider or a specialty provider with specific core competencies?

• If a distributor is unknown to you, how can they get an audience and what should be conveyed during that first meeting?

• Describe the ideal buyer-seller relationship.

These are just a handful of the questions we will explore during the session; we hope you’ll be part of it.

Immediately following the Customer Panel, some hard-hitting questions will be posed to an Industry Panel composed of two distributors and two manufacturers, each from two different segments of the marketplace, engineered systems and forklifts. With dynamics changing so rapidly and trends such as consolidation, direct selling, economic volatility and commodity pricing on the rise, stresses on the manufacturer-distributor relationship occur. We are bringing some of these issues to the forefront in an effort to find common ground. How are manufacturers preparing to meet the demand the recovery will bring? Direct selling or local distribution—what are the pros and cons? Where are the primary conflicts between the manufacturer and distributor, and how can each partner work in concert with one another to achieve their respective goals and best serve the customer?

Asking questions is the first step toward strengthening relationships. We are grateful for the relationship we have with you. As always, your comments and suggestions are welcomed and encouraged. Hope to see you in Phoenix!

Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association
Liz Richards Meet the Author
Liz Richards
Executive Vice President

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