Category 7 Most Innovative Supplier Support Program

Category 7 Most Innovative Supplier Support Program

First place: Cardell Cabinets, San Antonio, TX

Rebate Offers Local Distributors a Lift 

"We wanted to highlight the strength of our distribution network and the relationship we have with its members," says Russ Dennis, director of builder development. 

And highlight the company's strengths it did so much so that the firm was awarded first-place honors in Category 7 
of K&BDN's third annual Industry Leadership Awards.

While the company does not sell directly to builders, only to distributors, it understands the importance of builders in the whole equation. So, together with its distributors, Cardell developed the program, which offers builders the advantage of buying from a local distributor that understands the local market and has products that meets those needs, yet gives them the advantage of a national buying program, as well.

Cardell Plus is designed specifically for builders who build in more than one market. While builders continue to negotiate with the local Cardell distributor, they will receive a quarterly rebate direct from Cardell based on their Cardell purchases nationwide. The rebate also grows incrementally, and is retroactive on an annual basis. 

This program has been a significant asset to the company because it assists local distributors in their sales efforts by combining the power of national purchasing volume with the advantages of local market purchasing, which local purchasing managers prefer, he notes. 

Therefore, the Cardell Plus plan benefits everyone, according to the company.

But Dennis is acutely aware of what the company needs for its program to be successful. "There would not be a program without our distributors," he stresses.
Extending beyond just one area, if a Cardell distributor does well in one city and the builder joins the Cardell Plus program, it makes it possible for other Cardell distributors in other cities to bid for that particular builder's business. While it used to be that there was no real incentive for the builder's purchasing department in various cities to recommend a specific brand, there is now a payoff, due to the incremental growth of the rebate, the company notes.

Creating incentives for the builder as well as forging partnerships with distributors has made all the difference for Cardell, Dennis states. Furthermore, he explains, "[Cardell Plus] not only helps from the sales point of view, but it strengthens the relationships between all of these parties and, ultimately, it is that relationship [between distributors and builders] that determines the future of [our] business."

For the staff of Cardell Cabinets, that appears to be all the incentive they need.

2nd place: Merillat Industries, Inc., Adrian, MI

Design Concept Helps Clients Get Organized

Understanding how a client functions in a space can benefit a designer greatly when designing that space. So believes Adrian, MI-based Merillat Industries, which introduced Organomics, a concept so unique, it captured the company second-place honors in Category 7 of K&BDN's 2001 Industry Leadership Awards.

The goal of Organomics is to position Merillat dealers and distributors as providers of storage solutions that are both functional and beautiful. 

The company's Web site offers tools, including printable worksheets and a dealer locator, to benefit clients. Ideally, when clients reach a dealer, they have already spent time thinking about their needs, which helps the designer create a suitable space, according to the company. 

The company notes that Organomics aids dealers and distributors in the sale of popular upgrades and provides an ice breaker between salespeople and potential clients.

A trade support packet, banners and counter cards are also part of the support materials that dealers and distributors can use to teach their staff about Organomics, and to help sell the concept to their customers.

3rd place: Decore-ative Specialties, Elk Grove, CA

Cabinetmakers Receive Sales Boost from Program

Successful programs are usually comprised of several complementary steps, which is what Decore-ative Specialties had in mind when it created its supplier support program 18 months ago. The program, which took third-place honors in Category 7 of K&BDN's 2001 Industry Leadership Awards, includes four different types of sales support.

Customers can link their Web sites to the co-op Web site to show high-resolution door photos and kitchen shots to customers. Through the link, its customers' customers will be able to view door styles without leaving the site. 

A complete pricing guide is another tool provided by Decore-ative Specialties. The cabinetmakers can fill in the lists with their own information, allowing for faster quotes. 

The company also offers a compact disk containing photos that can be used to enhance a Web site, as well as a flyer showcasing door selections available. 

Furthermore, the sales assistance program aids cabinetmakers in marketing, reducing service time and simplifying marketing production, the company notes.