I would like to welcome you to the annual CIH Suppliers’ Lunch. Thank you to the Dorchester and its staff for another fantastic meal with superb service, as always.
It is with great pride that I stand before you today and represent CIH as its new Chairman. Change is not an easy thing to embrace, but it is necessary in the current retail landscape. CIH has undergone a major change in the past two years with the implementation of a brand-new SAP System and the launch of our new online platform. Both of these, vital additions, have given us the foundation to build our future business on. I would like to personally thank the project team at Andover for the diligence and perseverance shown in bringing this major project to fruition. With Stuart at the helm, and the senior management that are in the room today, our members can be assured that Andover is in safe hands. We have many changes happening over the coming months including; the rebranding of Euronics, the advancement of our new look website and the full launch of our new associate membership. All three will hopefully increase our awareness to the consumer as well as strengthening our business with new associate members.
With all these new business opportunities I am glad we have the two transport partners, Ken White and Panther, to help distribute the products to the members. We have seen how our members have appreciated the three times a week delivery service they now receive and how this has helped them react faster to the consumers’ needs. The next phase of our online business will need this superb service to help it succeed.
I would also like to thank my fellow board directors for their input into what has been a complex project and, those same directors, for the due diligence that they all show in the advancement of the company; giving up valuable time from their own businesses for the benefit of every single member. I would also like to point out that all the Executive board directors went above and beyond the normal requirements of their position to test, test and re-test the new B2B system that the members are now praising. All of this was done before my tenure began and I feel slightly selfish in taking the credit for the project, so a special thank you must be given to Robin, the previous chairman, for his consistent optimism and forceful realisation of this fantastic system.
This is still a work in progress, as we have tasked our partner, Atos, with further enhancements to both the back office and website systems that we believe will improve the system exponentially. As we work together on the further changes, we will provide our members the tools that will stand them in good stead for the future.
It is also worth mentioning our continued relationship with Euronics international of which I am now the new kid on the block. I have already attended my first international board meeting and I hope to continue our fantastic relationship. I look forward to working closely with Euronics international and help bring some exciting projects to the UK, which will help the membership. I have Hans Carpels and his team visiting next week to discuss how the UK can show its commitment to the group when our own government is looking at pulling out of the EU.
Lastly the biggest thank you must go to you, our suppliers; without you we have no business. You all come in many shapes and sizes, but all of you are valued partners of our company. Over the coming years it is my ambition to make CIH members’ the best retailers in the electrical industry. That will mean engaging with you and creating a mutually beneficial relationship for both of us. For too long we have both been reducing our margins and haemorrhaging profits for the sake of the consumer. This has to stop if we want to have a sustainable business moving forward. I would like to engage with you all more, to make this a reality. It is the nature of the business that some retailers would like to stack em high and sell em cheap as they believe turnover is key. Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity. I was taught this by my late father who many of you will remember as a prudent retailer. He taught me many valuable lessons in business, none more so than we all need to make a profit.
I will endeavour to reduce the cost-to-serve of our business, so that every member and supplier will feel the benefit in their bottom line. I hope you will all see that CIH is looking to the future with optimism and a belief that if we all work together, we can improve both our business profitability as well as our trading relationship.
Finally, as I know I can go on a bit, I would like to explain why the directors are dressed the way they are. I thought it would be an opportunity to raise some money for a good cause if we all paid to be able to wear this attire. I personally have worn a festive garment of some sort every year that I have been at this event. Whilst not all wished to wear this stylish garment, all have donated to the fund. At the Showcase, I will ask the members to which charity we should donate any money raised next year. This year I would like to give the money raised by the directors to Family Fund. We do have a relationship with Family Fund in business, but following on from the charity event that myself and the Vice Chairman attended on CIH`s behalf, I feel it is right that we award the inaugural years’ donation to this fantastic charity.
Should any of your companies like to support this charity, I would be more than happy to accept the donations from you and add to the amount we will donate. Due to the fact that we are currently tendering for the business again we shall not be donating the money until after the conclusion of the tender. Successful or not we will still donate the proceeds to Family Fund as the work they do benefits those less fortunate than ourselves.
And now for the part you’ve all been waiting for, the awards.
I must start these with a special presentation to a certain individual who tirelessly and without complaint brings this whole event together as well as looking after both Stuart and I, which is no easy task. Would Jane please come to the front and accept this small gift from Stuart, myself and the whole board, for all you do for us.
The supporter of the independents awards
This year the award is going to the manufacturer that has shown a willingness to embrace change and to work more with the buying team and the members to fulfil its potential. We believe that this company has really stood up to the challenging market conditions and given the members some much needed stability and more importantly margin. The supporter of the independents award goes to LG Brown goods.
The supplier of the year
This year the award is being given to a brand that has grown beyond our expectations and also gives us an offering that is not easily matched buy our competition. With sustained growth and a fantastic margin this brand has really delivered to the members. It is with great pleasure that the supplier of the year award goes to Blomberg.
One final thing, may I wish every single person in the room a very Merry Christmas with your families and some much needed rest before we start again in the New Year.
Combined Independents (Holdings) Ltd (CIH) is an electrical buying group, part of Euronics, Europe’s largest electrical buying group, which operates in over 30 countries with an annual turnover of €19 billion. With around 500 members and approximately 1000 stores, CIH provides a range of services and benefits to support each independent electrical retailer, as well as exclusive ranges that the members’ customers are unable find anywhere else on the high street, or internet.
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6th December 2018