Lets work together 2

Published:  20 October, 2010

David Hebdon answers key questions about the role of the Cemco Merchant Network, now, and in the future.

Q How different is running an independent merchant these days? How does that impact on the running of Cemco?

A Having looked at and tried other ways, we decided that Cemco’s best interests were served by members running Cemco for the benefit of its members. Independent merchanting is very different from the nationals and understanding the needs of the membership can only be done by those who work within it.

With this in mind, we decided we needed a new focus on how we do things. The board was getting involved in too much discussion on how and when we do things rather than formulating policy and strategy. We decided to change this. The board now focuses on deciding policy and debating strategy and the way in which Cemco will look in the future.

Trading is left in the hands of its trading teams and pulls on the wealth of experience it has within its membership to deliver the best deals.

The economic situation has presented challenges to us all, but Cemco will still be focusing on commitment and delivering the best it can to our suppliers within agreed parameters that we are all aware of.

We feel we need to be open about this and the best way forward is that both members and suppliers are fully aware of the expectation and that we deliver that expectation.

Q Have the challenges of the past 12 months change the way in which Cemco will operate in the future?

A Cemco has been aware that the economic climate and local trading conditions have put pressure on some to adhere to our need to deliver commitment. Through extensive discussion decisions have been jointly agreed that for the good of both parties there would be a parting of the way. This allows Cemco to continue delivering the agreed expectation it must for its credibility while allowing the member to pursue its local needs while the door remains open.

Cemco members work together not just on purchasing. We are in constant discussion with one another about all aspects of our businesses, looking to each other for best practices and ideas. Through this close contact it has been very evident that technology is in the forefront of all of our minds, many of us looking at new systems for our businesses that will improve our efficiencies.

Cemco has been doing the same with its intranet site. The site has been revamped to deliver better more accurate information. Better layout with easy access to the deal structure, terms and price lists has been developed. The ability to trace individual member’s performance and a comprehensive rebate tracking system has been introduced.

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