FEST membership is currently made up of the wholesaler associations from the following 15 countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
Since its foundation in 1963, the FEST Federation has provided regular opportunities for interaction between industry wholesalers, encouraging the exchange of ideas and sharing both knowledge and experience of the different trading practices within the sector. By means of periodic workshops and a bi-annual Congress, FEST brings together influential, like-minded individuals to discuss current trends and topics with the goal of promoting better operational standards for Europe’s wholesalers.
FEST also works with the various national associations to lobby the EU Commission on matters concerning industry regulation, often in close collaboration with the major European manufacturers and professional installer trade bodies.
The fight for our customers just got a lot more complex. Now it’s not only coming from other distributors, but new entrants armed with all the tools of the digital age and the arrival of COVID has simply accelerated these trends. The future is happening now.
Competition has always been part of our natural landscape. Each week we go into battle with our mixture of stock, brands, service and price propositions and win and lose against other distributors. We chase projects , convert leads and look for the next big HVAC trends. To be operationally effective within this defined market place should be good enough, or is it? In the digital age we, and many other market places, are seeing the rules of the game change around us. The result is a threat to the three-stage wholesaler business model.
The customer experience is being shaped by online and offline touchpoints and we can see that there are some customers who have quickly adopted to the new digital tools and many who have yet to make this transition. There is no such thing as the typical customer anymore! The digital age has now allowed disruptive competitors to approach segments of our customers with:
- The growth of new technical products for the home, such as smart home technology, where the installer is not always the first choice as a reference point;
- Manufacturers who see the homeowner as the key decision-maker and can now market to them directly and digitally;
- New entrants to the supply chain who look at the sector and feel that they can do a better job.