It’s easy for manufacturers to bring dealers in for training, right? So why don’t some of you?

It’s easy to tell a dealer of a new product—so why don’t some of you?

And if a manufacturer fails in some of these areas, why doesn’t a dealer change manufacturers? Perhaps that fact in itself is even more telling?

If you are wondering why I am posing these questions, take the time to read today’s news article regarding a panel discussion held last week with four door and window manufacturers and dealers.

Communication continues to be a stumbling block in every company–ours included. We had a mistake happen at our company recently and when I drilled down and looked step by step at where the error occurred it came down to miscommunication. No big deal, right? It is a big deal and in your line of work it can cost you business.

I’m sure Dan Wolt, owner of Zen Windows, isn’t the only one frustrated with some of the things he is not getting or has not received in the past from his manufacturers, but for now he may be the only one speaking up.

One thing really alarms me about what Wolt relayed during the session. If manufacturers aren’t stepping up now when the market is slow, how will they provide these items when things turn around and business picks up?

Following are two more items Wolt mentioned in the panel that I didn’t include in my article.

Wolt, who yearns for training and says he doesn’t get it, did manage to set an appointment with one of his manufacturers for software training.

“So we drove there and found their software was not compatible with Apple, which is what we use,” said Wolt.

There’s that pesky communication problem again.

The panel also talked a lot about technology and one company with whom Wolt works doesn’t use smart phones and this discussion prompted a line that I will call the quote of the session.

“My manufacturers don’t use smart phones, so I bought one of my manufacturers a blackberry,” said Wolt.

Yes, this elicited some laughs in the room but really, when you break it down, some of the things that came out are rather alarming. And again, it’s not just one person. It’s the reason I was asked a few years back to talk to a group of manufacturers about how they can improve communications with their dealers. It was to remind them of new products they have of training opportunities. This may seem basic to you but it’s information some people are not getting. It’s that age-old question that still has not been answered: How do we communicate effectively?

The point of our panel was not to place blame—in fact no manufacturer’s names were mentioned. It was to remind all of us that more work needs to be done—some may have more work to do than others–but really when it comes down to it all of us can improve.

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