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Survey: Managers Generally Satisfied with Distributors but Not Afraid to Shop Around

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ALN Wire Survey Chart
ALN Wire Survey Chart

Bruce Beggs |

CHICAGO — The vast majority of managers may be generally satisfied with the distributor or distributors serving them, but it hasn’t stopped many from shopping for new blood during the past year, according to the results of American Laundry News’ Wire survey this month.
Roughly 48% of respondents say they’re “very satisfied,” and another 25.9% say they’re “somewhat satisfied” with their distributors. Approximately 11% are “neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.” Equal shares of 7.4% say they’re “somewhat dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied.”
But even in light of that mostly positive assessment, roughly 52% of respondents say they’ve “shopped” for a new distributor serving their region in the past year.American Laundry News asked respondents which distributor services were most important to their operation, inviting them to select all that apply from nine possibilities. Supplying chemical and/or nonchemical supplies, at 69.2%, is most important, followed by equipment maintenance/repair and parts supply, each of which were chosen by 53.8% of respondents.
Next were equipment selection and installation (34.6%), staff training (23.1%) and “other” (15.4%, with several respondents mentioning textiles). Design, consulting and construction (11.5%), financing assistance (7.7%) and equipment rebuilding (3.8%) rounded out the bottom three in this survey.
For managers whose distributors don’t offer certain added services, or for those who simply haven’t taken advantage of what’s out there, staff training, at 31.8%, interests them most (respondents were asked to select one service). Equipment maintenance/repair (22.7%) and supplying chemical and/or nonchemical supplies (18.2%) also garnered significant interest.
How are distributors doing at keeping managers informed about the products and services they offer? Equal shares of 26.9% described their distributor’s marketing effort as “excellent” or “average.” Roughly 23% called it “above average.” More than 15% of respondents called the marketing work “poor,” while 7.7% said “below average.”
Subscribers to American Laundry News’ Wire e-mails — distributed weekly — are invited to participate in an industry survey each month. The survey is conducted online via a partner website. Each survey is developed so it can be completed in 10 minutes or less. Readers are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define operator opinions and industry trends.
Click here and follow the menu instructions to sign up for the free e-mail service.
 

About the author

Bruce Beggs

American Trade Magazines LLC

Editorial Director, American Trade Magazines LLC

Bruce Beggs is editorial director of American Trade Magazines LLC, including American Coin-Op, American Drycleaner and American Laundry News. He was the editor of American Laundry News from November 1999 to May 2011. Beggs has worked as a newspaper reporter/editor and magazine editor since graduating from Kansas State University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications. He and his wife, Sandy, have two children.

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