STILL's NEW Sales & Service Footprint!

Torsten Wiecker

What to expect in 2021...

STILL have operated in the UK for nearly 40 years, but this year sees the beginning of a new Sales and Service footprint for the German manufacturer. The UK subsidiary have worked to combine the expertise of their existing (and newly invested) Sales and Service teams with a new selection of Exclusive Distributors. In this interview with Torsten Wiecker, Managing Director of STILL UK we look at the creation of the new footprint, and how it will benefit STILL’s customers across the UK.


How has STILL optimised its Sales and Service coverage?

Our optimisation process started back at the beginning of 2020. We are always reflecting on our behaviours and practices and we asked ourselves one fundamental question: “how can we be closer to our customers?” Continuous change and improvement are part of our DNA. We are a ‘lean’ company and were able to manage the Coronavirus crisis well by ensuring the stability of our team and continuation of our high service standards throughout the year. This meant we had time to activate new projects and of course focus on a new way of optimisation in order to add additional focus to our customers.

We reviewed our practices in the UK over the last few years to see what had gone well and where we could make potential improvements. The core idea of our new footprint is all about improved networking. This was really the key to the new strategy, networking and collaborating with regional and product specialists, while sharing our own expertise as the manufacturer.


How does STILL’s Sales and Service strategy for the UK differ to other STILL countries?

Across our main European markets like Germany, France or Poland, we have successfully reached and served our customers through a direct sales channel for many years. In Spain and Italy however, STILL operates a hybrid sales network made up of direct sales and Exclusive Distributors. To perfect the new footprint for the UK we looked across the organisation to see what we could learn from these models. As part of the STILL Group, we also have the chance to share our own best practices, so that other STILL subsidiaries can benefit from our ideas without having to ‘reinvent the wheel’ for themselves.

Handshake

How will the new footprint benefit your customers?

As readers of my blog will know, our focus at STILL is all about the customer. Our intention for the new Sales and Service footprint was to deliver an even higher standard of service and support across the UK, and to do this we looked from the customer’s perspective. Over the last few years, we have worked hard to earn ourselves an industry leading Net Promoter Score. By forming a strong, partnering network of Exclusive Distributors combined with our direct Sales and Service teams we knew we could deliver an even better service level across the UK.


How does the STILL Exclusive Distributor network work?

For each region we asked the question; is our current footprint / coverage the very best we can offer to our customers? We concluded, that we could do it better! So, we asked ourselves what is the best way forward? And how do we make further adjustments and improvements? Do we invest in our direct operation or improve our offering via an Exclusive Distributor? Again, it is all about networking. So, we decided our newly formed and strong network will now consist of… us - STILL UK (as the manufacturer and UK subsidiary) our Exclusive Distributors and Regional Partners and we always come back to the same guiding question: “What is best for our customers and how can we provide them with the best service in the industry?” The new setup enables us to support our partners when required - in the background or directly up front.


How did you select the new Exclusive Distributors?

With every Sales and Service network you will always have varying levels of performance from your regional representatives, with high performers and others looking to improve. For STILL UK, our selection of Exclusive Distributors considered previous and current performance, but we found having the right culture, the right focus and a willingness to invest in customers was just as important and this is really what drove the selection process.

And don’t forget our important Regional Partners, who we will inform you about in the upcoming weeks.

networking

That’s why when customers look at the makeup of the new STILL footprint they’ll see a mix of existing partners that we have worked with for many years, and also some new faces that we believe are a strong cultural fit with STILL in the UK and share the same customer-led attitude and team spirit which we are proud of in our direct organisation.


Will STILL reduce their direct sales activities?

Not at all. We’re very much investing into our Sales and Service structure. What you will find however, is our activities are operating differently from the past. We’re combining our direct activities with the support of our Exclusive Distributors and vice versa.

During 2020, as a result of operational changes to support social distancing and staff remote working, we discovered that we were already delivering a great service without the need for some of our depots. As a reassurance to customers who may have heard about our Leyland depot closure, we are still very much on hand, now with a stronger and closer network to support you. 2020 was a great lesson for us and through digitalisation we realised quickly that it doesn’t matter where our back-office people are based, our high levels of service are delivered to the customer regardless. We are investing into our direct team e.g. sales people who can be closer to our customers and looking at further optimisation of our back-office structures.

Just one example, of our best practice (even before the pandemic): if spare parts are ordered by 4pm, they’re delivered overnight with engineers visiting customers the following day. If a customer wants to see a new product, we ensure an immediate demonstration – we believe this is a real advantage over our competitors.

Also, while it may appear that we’re taking a backward step in areas where an Exclusive Distributor is now the regional contact, STILL is very much present and offering support and training to our partners. And like I said, we are acting as business partners. When there is the demand or where it makes logical sense, we will join the Exclusive Distributor in their customer meetings. We will stand side by side, because together we are stronger!

maintenance

Want to know how the new footprint will benefit you?

This year will see the start of our new sales and service footprint roll-out. Of course, this year will be a period of transition for us but as always, we will be close by if you need our support. To find out how the new footprint will benefit your requirements then speak to our team, contact us to find out more.


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Comments

#1 Bill Ryan | 18.01.2021 14:25
We admire the approach Still has taken in the UK with respect to the support of its customers. Our background was with the former Yale organization in the US; in the past Yale operated sixteen (16) factory-owned (Direct) operations in addition to its independent dealers. It worked well for a number of reason. Had the parent company not decided to sell-off the division, the brand that might have continued to be represented that way and Yale would have been become a much more prominent and successful brand.

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