The dealer development group - DDG for short - was set up four years ago and is a 'meeting of minds' with suppliers who "actively support the IBD network," says the ACT.
The DDG currently has 15 members - Dawes, Fishers, Giant, Gill, Ideal, Madison, Marin, Paligap, Raleigh, Saracen, Scott, Specialized, Trek, Zyro and the BAGB - and there are two meetings a year.
As well as representatives from most of these member companies, and Patrick Barker, president of the Bicycle Association (BAGB), last week's DDG meeting was attended by CTC director Kevin Mayne, Bike Week co-ordinator Nick Harvey, Leisure Expo's David Hyde, ATG's Alan Finch, Jim Spooner of the Department of Transport, Colin Rees of ACT Training and Clair Noon of Cycle Claims Management.
ACT board members and secretariat members were joined by Mark Walmsley, ex MD of Madison, now an independent consultant. If Walmsley were paid by the 1000 words, he'd be a millionaire, his emails contain a legendary amount of meaty attachments. His ideas, drive
and passion for helping independent retailers thrive is creating a wholly different ACT to the pre-Walmsley ACT.
A full re-launch for the ACT will take place in February 2003. The new ACT website is already up-and-running but is being tweaked on the run. It was announced at the DDG meeting that suppliers would be able to promote new products on the ACT site, viewable by ACT members and public visitors.
The training sponsorship agreement with Madison will conclude 31st December and ACT has prepared a ‘Dealer Sponsorship Scheme’ so that all suppliers might take up sponsorship of the Colin Rees training packages. To date, 47 IBDs have benefitted from the retail training scheme.
The DDG meeting lasted a whopping five hours and there were also presentations from Clair Noon of Cycle Claims Management, the insurance replacements specialist, and Nick Harvey of Bike Week.
He listed the 48 active participants on the Bike Week steering group and the large corporates who were totally behind promoting the week. Jim Spooner of the Department of Transport said he couldn't believe there was such little support for Bike Week from IBDs.
The ACT will now beef up its support of Bike Week and will soon announce new initiatives that IBDs will be able to get involved with.
With the imminent demise of the Madison sponsorship deal, the ACT is seeking widespread support from suppliers, including greater take-up of associate membership. Suppliers members get access to the HSBC credit card rates and trade insurance cover, plus a new scheme looking at H&S and HR compliance.
An overall sponsor - or group of sponsors - would also be sought.
ACT president David Wilsher acknowledged the support of Madison:
"I would like to thank Madison for their support over recent years in allowing us to push the barriers forward. I’m a little sorry that their investment has been in a progressive, but still relatively passive organisation, and whoever follows them is likely to benefit from the profile we are now creating for ourselves."
In a presentation about the 'fighting fund', Patrick Barker, president of the BA, said progress had been slow to date but that a plan was almost ready for roll-out. A limited company would be set up, with directors nominated by ACT and BAGB. A representative from Halfords would also be on board and there would also be a consultant from outside the cycle industry. The levy would be subject to VAT at the normal rate, as the contributions would not be regarded as charitable donations. Participating suppliers would be widely promoted as being active supporters of the fighting fund.
Barker also confirmed that a new set of CEN standards was to be produced for next year, which would have separate standards for different types of machines.
Furthermore, he reported that suppliers were experiencing increased transport charges and this would have to be reflected in the higher trade prices next year. And IBD late payments have become such an issue that the BAGB is looking at "industry solutions."
Suppliers - even those not on the DDG panel - will be emailed with a variety of ACT documents by mid-December. Any suppliers who do not receive the mailing can request it from firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Walmsley: email@example.com