steve parfett quote web

I am looking forward to attending the FWD Wholesale Immersion Briefing this week with colleagues who form the FWD Council. This is the second such event targeted to involve the most senior decision makers in supplier companies, and intended to reinforce their knowledge of and commitment to the wholesale sector.

Trading conditions in our industry are incredibly challenging at present, as is so publicly visible at the multiple retailers, and no one is immune to the pressures of such an environment. Both Landmark Wholesale MD and FWD chairman Martin Williams and I have talked previously about how important the quality of people and relationships is to successful business and I make no apology for returning to the topic.

People make all the difference. The quality of people involved in a business, together with their continued training and development, combined with real engagement are the essentials of business success. More importantly in the context of this piece, the relationships between good people in our business and those representing supplier businesses are crucial.

This week’s event is therefore an essential part of building on these relationships at the very top of businesses to ensure our contacts are given the backing and responsibility to develop the trading partnership.

All my experience confirms that longevity of contact at Parfetts HO with the power to make decisions always leads to greater mutual understanding of each other’s businesses and, most importantly, increased sales, year after year.

Unfortunately too often there is a view that the independent sector is a step on the path of development rather than a destination with a real opportunity to transform sales. It is both insulting and counterproductive to see wholesale as just a training experience in a career path.

To quote our joint MD Greg Suszczenia: “Negotiation and trading in wholesale is not a sport.” We need attendees at this week’s event and others who have not yet engaged to appreciate the importance of the sector and its opportunities and to make a real commitment to support it.

Of course a successful career needs varied experience but those people who learn about our business, understand the sector and work with us to develop mutual understanding will ultimately be successful and fulfilled, ensuring their engagement in both the customer’s business and their own. In order to achieve this they need the trust and backing from management who understand the opportunities and benefits.

Steve Parfett is chairman of AG Parfett & Sons