In 2013 Tennant Company gave its distributors a target, which if achieved, would result in the 2014 Distributor conference taking place in Fiji. As a group they exceeded the target so Tennant’s distributors enjoyed three days of sun and hands-on conference agenda from 18 to 20 March at Westin Denarau Island Resort and Spa, Fiji.
The conference was lead by Tennant Company’s national sales and marketing manager Quintus Strydom, commercial and distributor manager for Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) Julian Lee, and supported by US product development manager Julie Hartz, national service manager Chris Collier and sales coordinator Heather Treuer.
Following the lead from Tennant’s direct sales conference held a week prior in Coogee (Sydney), the theme of this years’ distributor conference was ‘Go for Growth’. With solid organic growth of 15% in APAC in the 4th quarter of 2013, and significant market gains in ANZ/China, Tennant is looking to a framework to grow business. “We believe we have the right people and the right partners to grow the business and we are looking to stretch ourselves for double digit growth,” stated Quintus Strydom in his company focus and update.
Recapping Tennant’s vice president of APAC (Asia/Pacific) Mauro Compagnoni’s address from the sales conference, Strydom touched on the four key strategies the company is focusing to attain growth. However he focused on the first two – 1. reach new customers and markets and 2. continue delivering what we know works such as innovative products and technologies. “We have seen from extensive market research that there are opportunities for us to grow, we know where Tennant is not well represented and we are working on developing the right channels to reach those markets,” noted Strydom.
Julian Lee followed with an update on the distributor channel strategy. “We know now what Tennant is doing globally, but what are we going to do locally, specifically for distributor commercial business?” he asked rhetorically. “Nearly all our distributors had improved results over the previous year. Considering last year was the record year for commercial business in ANZ, this means you all did a fantastic job,” Lee praised. “In fact, Tennant’s business and share grew in a declining market, which is very difficult to do.”
Lee went on to reveal that the biggest opportunity for distributors to help Tennant grow is through the essentials market, which comprises of walk-behind sweepers, floor machines, corded carpet extractors, vacuums and speciality machines. “We know we can sell the big machines so now we have to focus on the essential market,” stated Lee. “But it’s a transition process in growing the essential range and for the company to invest in product development.”
Hartz introduced the distributors to some new Tennant machines, including the B5 and B7 walk behind battery burnishers. “The goal behind these machines is to fill a gap in our product range so now we have an entire family of burnishers that can concentrate on the retail market,” announced Hartz. “The new features on these machines shows Tennant is moving forward as we have researched customers and operators for more information to help us design better products.”
Tennant also announced new product releases for the essentials range – the 3070B battery cordless backpack vacuum and the F3 single speed disc floor machine, which Hartz said was the brother to the F8, and the final instalment to complete Tennant’s polishing suite. “To be market leaders, we need to get it right,” stated Hartz. “Part of our essential growth strategy priorities is listening to our customers and offering manoeuvrability, increased productivity, easy use, quality and durability.”
The Distributor Awards Dinner was a casual affair, held at the Sheraton Fiji Resort on 19 March. Strydom and Lee presented three awards: Most Improved Distributor of the Year was awarded to Total Supply Solutions, Queensland, and the Highly Commended Distributor of the Year went to Melbourne Cleaning Supplies, Victoria.
The major award of the night, Distributor of the Year 2013, was won by Master Australia, NSW, for tripling its sales growth from the previous year – already paving the way for other distributors to follow suit and meet Tennant’s ‘go for growth’ goals in 2014.
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