Norwood Takes Introspective Look with “The Mighty 8”
In an effort to learn how it could better serve distributors and improve its overall service, Norwood Promotional Products, Indianapolis, recently hosted a focus group consisting of eight distributors, dubbed “The Mighty 8.”
“Getting feedback was important to us because we wanted to learn how we could give our distributors the best service, which may include calling more often, improving order status or helping them custom-source products,” explained Allison Avin, manager of marketing communications.
Members of Norwood’s leadership team, including company president Paul Lage, engaged the group in dialogue about the company’s perception in the industry, its past performance and plans for the future. Other topics included pin-pointing changes affecting distributors’ businesses, pricing, inventory management, and how Norwood could become more competitive with regard to custom-sourcing in Asia.
“Norwood, like many other companies, needs to do a better job of communicating and making its customers aware of problems as they occur,” noted Janelle Nevins of Summit Marketing, an Atlanta-based distributorship. “Communication continues to be a huge key to the success of any company. Overall improvement of customer service and better connecting with customers to keep them in the know is something that must be improved for success to continue.”
While she admits that some changes are necessary, Nevins was also quick to praise Norwood’s overall service. “Norwood is composed of many caring, intelligent and passionate people who have built wonderful relationships with their customers,” she noted. “We all keep coming back because of the people, the quality of products they provide, and the quality of service that we receive from many of the Norwood companies.”
Avin noted that while the compilation of “The Mighty 8” was a new undertaking, this was not the first time Norwood has reached out to its distributors. “This was a new initiative that Paul wanted to get going—making sure that people understand we’re going to talk to them and listen,” she said. “We wanted ‘The Mighty 8’ to understand that we are going to heed what they have said as a representation of our entire distributor population and take those suggestions forward.”
Avin cautioned that the meeting should not be misconstrued as a means for broad-scale changes at Norwood. “The meeting really served as a benchmark to find out where we are in the industry, how our distributors feel about us, and how the industry perceives us on these various topics,” she explained. “As we move forward, we’ll go back to this group, as well as solicit feedback from more targeted groups to find out how we’re doing.”
Norwood plans to hold additional focus groups on specific topics, including catalogs, technology and custom sourcing.
“With Paul at the helm, we feel confident that he understands the Industry, knows what it takes for Norwood to continue to lead and is committed to the model of supplier/distributor/end-user,” added Nevins. “By enlisting a team of customers to be a sounding board for new ideas and concepts, as well as a source for providing a true scorecard on how it is doing as
a supplier, Norwood is merely seeking ways to be a better supplier to the entire Industry.”
For more information, call (877) 667-9663 or visit www.norwood.com.