Relationships between wholesalers and suppliers needed to become more transparent if the communication mistakes of the past were to be laid to rest, said Palmer & Harvey McLane chairman Christopher Adams. While he understood wholesalers' suspicions that they were treated as also rans, he could see why the multiples had been courted so fervently by suppliers in the past. Adams said: "Commercially, it made sense ­ the multiples could impose far stricter disciplines in passing on the benefits of their negotiations through to the point of purchase in terms of display and pricing," adding that wholesalers had little or no control over display or pricing in their customers' shops. But he urged manufacturers to invest in the independent sector in partnership with wholesalers. He said it was essential for suppliers in today's competitive market to have balance between wholesale and multiple customers. "Manufacturers' investment has been heavily geared towards the multiples ­ but this has not brought them long-term security," he warned. · Retail wholesalers are wising up to data collection as a way to understand customers, track products and plan strategies. Palmer & Harvey McLane has struck a deal with AC Nielsen to sell its marketing data to others in the sector ­ the first time a wholesale company has opened itself up to scrutiny. P&H commercial director Stan Murton said: "The data will give manufacturers a valuable insight into our customer base." {{NEWS }}