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IFDA Study Highlights Importance of Distributor-Manufacturer Cooperation

The International Foodservice Distributors Association recently released a study on distributor-manufacturer relationships highlighting the importance of cooperation in the channel to growth.

The study, Perspectives on the Manufacturer-Distributor Relationship: How We Got Here and How to Move Forward Together, is available to members, but the association did provide a brief summary on its website.

“Success in the foodservice channel is dependent on the presence of high levels of cooperation among channel members, as well as high levels of trust and integrity,” said Dr. Richard George, St. Joseph's University, who conducted the study. “This report, based upon conversation with leaders in the foodservice industry, underscores the fact that current relationships can no longer be viewed as ‘business as usual.’”

An important determinant of the health of the foodservice channel will be the strength and dependability of relationships, said George, and measures of relationship health include trust, cooperation versus conflict, direction/degree of interdependence, and relative market power.

“As noted throughout the research and across the various channel players, transparency and trust are the key ingredients. What is needed is an atmosphere of openness and negotiation. It is not enough simply to pay for cases shipped. The new paradigm should focus on developing partnerships,” George said.

This report was the first of three. The second year of the study will focus on developing and testing a trading partner collaboration model.

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