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18th January 2019
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New CIH chairman Steve Scogings addresses suppliers and presents Awards at Christmas lunch
Steve Scogings joined Combined Independents (Holdings) members at a fabulous Christmas lunch at London's Dorchester Hotel last week and took to the floor to address everyone for the first time, at what has become a much-anticipated annual gathering.
He also presented the Group's Annual Awards.
"It is with great pride that I stand before you today and represent CIH as its new Chairman," he said. "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 [Millwood], 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."
"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."
Supporter of the independents:
"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."
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."
CIH, the electrical buying group, is 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.
For more information on CIH or membership opportunities:
T: 01264 320500 and select option 3, followed by *, or:
7th December 2018