In an effort to drive waste from the manufacturer and rep relationship, the NEMRA Manufacturers Group (NMG) has commissioned a study.

The initial findings of this study, entitled “Eliminating Wasteful Activities in the Rep & Manufacturer Sales & Marketing Channel,” were detailed during the NMG Forum at the 36th Annual NEMRA meeting Feb. 16 in Louisville, Ky.

Tom O'Connor, Farmington Consulting Group, Farmington, Conn., who is conducting the study, shared some of the results from the telephone surveys conducted during the past two months.

Manufacturers gave “excellent/very good” ratings to their reps on their ability to develop and maintain strong local relationships with their distributors. Manufacturers also rated reps high for their ability to provide responsive and knowledgeable customer service personnel, perform order entry and complete quotes and returned goods authorizations (RGAs). Reps' outside sales personnel also got high marks for their knowledge and sales skills.

Manufacturers were unhappy with rep performance in the following areas: pushing new products to end-users; developing and maintaining strong local relationships with end-users; and providing local marketing and merchandising programs.

Rep respondents rated manufacturers high for the quality of their products; ability to deliver products within satisfactory service guidelines; responsive and knowledgeable customer service personnel; and responsive, competitive and consistent pricing.

Reps saw room for improvement in the frequency and quality of the training that manufacturers provide; handling of order entry, transactions and RGAs; and the performance of regional sales managers.

O'Connor said reps saw monthly sales reports as a “big waste” that “fall into an abyss.”