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A Message to Distributors, From Suppliers

Last year I had the opportunity to do about 11 weeks of ASI Roadshows and a few larger shows like ASI Orlando. Throughout all the shows I’ve done in my years I’ve noticed something. When distributors walk through shows, some (not all) don’t make a valiant effort to stop and talk to at least a majority of suppliers. I notice this more at the larger shows, but it’s still noticeable in smaller numbers on roadshows.

Now, suppliers understand that with the larger shows distributors only have a limited amount of time to see a large number of suppliers, this is just the fact of our industry. We also realize, as suppliers, it is our job to get distributors in our booth to tell them about our products. Having said those two facts, suppliers too often see distributors stroll past their booths with a glazed look over their face, not making a substantial effort to stop at their booth, or even respond to a simple “Good morning.”

To many, this may sound like a complaint. It is not.

I think I can safely say that most supplier reps have had these thoughts at some point in their career while working a trade show booth. I think I can also safely say that most suppliers realize the fact that many distributors have some sort of an idea of what they’re looking for at a trade show, and tend to tune out anything that’s not relevant to what they’re after.

While this may be an effective way to get through the entire show, it does not allow you to discover many new ideas and alternative solutions to your customers’ problems. How are you going to grow your business if you don’t actively seek out new and exciting products for your customers at these fantastic trade shows?

As we near the end of the trade show season in our industry, I challenge distributors to broaden their radar at the shows they attend next year. Try to look for alternative solutions and new ideas for your customers, in addition to what you need to look for at that particular show. I invite anybody reading this to give me any insight you have on how you choose to walk a show floor in our industry, and share your thoughts on this matter.

Meet the Team – Angela Stevens

Last time in our Meet the Team series we featured Andrea Volker. This week we have her sister Angela Stevens! Angela is our customer service rep for the Southeastern U.S. and has been with us for 15 years this September. Angela and her husband, Mike, have two kids named Jake and Jessica who are 22 and 19. Jake has worked at ID Line for the past three years now in production, and Jessica is a full time student. They have three dogs named Buddy, Sandy, and Chewy.

Q: Where are you originally from?
A: My mother’s womb I think, but I was born in La Paz, Bolivia – military brat 😉

Q: Did you go to college? If so, where?
A: Yes, Anoka & Hennepin Community College

Q: How did you start working at ID Line?
A: Referred by my sister Andrea

Q: What’s your favorite part about what you do?
A: When I hear back from a customer that the items were received well and everyone is happy.

Q: What’s your least favorite part?
A: Making errors

Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: When there is time I like four wheeling, fishing and most outdoor activities as long as there is no running!

Q: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?
A: Europe. Several countries there I want to visit.

Q: What’s your favorite color?
A: Depends on the day. Today I like green.

Q: If you could give distributors any tips/insight/constructive criticism, what would you give them for working with suppliers?
A: Sending plenty of details with quote requests. Another one is knowing the budget. This can save a lot of back and forth if we know the budget ahead of time.

You can find Angela on LinkedIn here
If you have any questions about products or samples, please contact: info@idline.com

Meet the Team – Andrea Volker

Andrea Volker is our customer service rep for the Northeastern U.S. and has been with us for nearly 17 years now. She has a husband named Eric and two kids, Brandon and Dylan who are 13 and 10. Her mother is from Bolivia, which has contributed to her fluency in Spanish. She also helped extensively with our remodel of our Badge Release website: www.badgerelease.com.

Q: Where are you originally from?
A: MN, born & raised.

Q: Did you go to college?
A: Yes, Hennepin Technical College, degree in Network Administration.

Q: How did you start working at ID Line?
A: I started through a temp service as receptionist. Two weeks later, moved to Customer Service.

Q: What’s your favorite part about what you do?
A: Helping a customer out of a jam.

Q: What’s your least favorite part?
A: The feeling you get when you realize you’ve dropped the ball.

Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: Cooking & Reading

Q: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?
A: Italy. It’s part of my heritage; let’s not forget the breathtaking scenery, food and wine.

Q: What’s your favorite color?
A: Today my favorite color is teal.

Q: If you could give distributors any tips/insight/constructive criticism, what would you give them for working with suppliers?
A: My advice would be to check with your supplier before quoting your customer if you are unfamiliar with a product or working with a new vendor. Not only can we assure you have the right product selected and priced, we can also offer alternative solutions.

You can find Andrea on LinkedIn here
If you have any questions about products or samples, please contact: info@idline.com

Business Leader, Meet the IT Guy…

A few months ago I had the chance to interview Dale Denham for a required assignment in one of my classes, Management Information Systems. The main focus of the interview was about what his job as the Chief Information Officer of Geiger actually entails, however we talked about a few important points that I think everyone in this industry and beyond can benefit from.

For those who don’t know Dale, he has a degree in business, but has always had a love for technology. His first jobs were in sales and sales management, and noticed that technology was always involved in sales and sales management, as well as to the overall business. He found that he was fairly good at dealing with technology and with solving problems and asked himself, “How much more efficient would I be as a business leader if the businesses that I work for had better technology?” This led Dale down the technology path and still to this day balances between business and technology.

When I asked Dale what he thought was the most challenging part about being in the IT/IS field he responded with something interesting. In most cases, business people want their problems solved, but don’t always understand or don’t want to understand how challenging certain things can be, even though they may look simple on the surface. Business people will often ask an IT manager if they can fix something and a lot of the time they will respond that yes they can fix that. While this problem is most likely solvable, the business person doesn’t always realize that there are sometimes 30 steps that have to be gone through for that problem to be fixed, and if you don’t do it correctly there’s a good chance something will go wrong. Because of this, there’s often a misunderstanding of timelines and the business people then get irritated that things take too long.

As we continue to see technology implemented further and further into business, we will see an increase in the number of people in the IT field. It will become increasingly necessary for business people to better understand the processes and time required to accomplish tasks involving IT. I challenge everyone reading this to learn something new about Information Technology this week to better understand what it actually takes to fix an issue.

After all, relationships are what business is all about!