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The Analysis Forums

A new forum kicks off

Pharmaceuticals & Medical Devices Forum is launched as further work is done into a vision for the future of the profession

Laurie Beagle Managing director, Forums International

A great start for the Pharmaceuticals & Medical Devices Forum (PMF). A long time in the planning but, on 16 February, the PMF held its ‘kick off’ meeting with a very good number of manufacturers and wholesalers in attendance.

The forum will be meeting three times a year in the UK and there will also be meetings in Ireland. We were pleased to have speakers from the NHS, Arthur J Gallagher, Rimilia, and Experian. The industry is complex and, at future meetings, we will be covering, not only the UK, but also the global markets. There will certainly be no lack of agenda item topics!

For more information, please e-mail

Opportunities and challenges In last month’s page, I advised that, during the forum meetings, we had asked all the members to let us know what they see as their top five opportunities and challenges for the new year. The top five are:  The relationship between Credit and Sales, which we covered last month.  Customers.  The Credit team.  Query resolution.  Technology.

Without customers, we have no business, so giving them a good experience and good service should be the goal or all of us

you should not stop trying. Plus, internal customers are as important as external ones.

Key points

Some of the key points were:  Good communication is essential. Systems and processes need to be ‘user friendly’.  Switch the tables round and look at your business from the outside and see it from the customer’s view point.  Where possible and practical, get out and see your customers.  Discuss working practices with them, it may be that that small changes can have a big impact on the relationship and make you easier to do business with.

There are, of course, the traditional customers who do not like change, for example, those who still pay by cheque, fax documents and do not even mention e-invoicing. Yes, they are a challenge, and maybe you have to make allowances as it takes a long time to get customers, but you can lose them quickly.


Finally, there is the issue of customer disputes. Are your processes adequate? Do

This month, we are focusing on the customer. That is ‘the customer experience’ and ‘customer service’. I was pleased to hear, at the PMF, that one of the member companies had appointed a customer experience manager and that person was, in fact, the credit manager.

I know many of our members are at different stages in bringing the credit operation and customer service closer together. They have been developing and sharing best practice and, in one instance, I know that, when hiring a new credit controller, they went for somebody with a customer-service background.

The view was that they can teach them credit. I will be interested to see how this strategy works out. During the workshops the point was raised that you cannot please all the customers all the time. But

March 2017

you have service-level agreements with goals in place with Sales, Sales Administration, Logistics and so on?. Do you produce root-cause analysis so you can stop these errors re-occurring? Do you publish a commitment to customer to answer their queries in a given time?

Without customers, we have no business, so giving them a good experience and good service should be the goal or all of us. March is a busy month with another new forum starting. The International Apparel Credit Forum will meet at Nike in Amsterdam. Supported by Moreton Smith and Experian, we have invited all the top clothing and footwear brands from the UK and across Europe to attend. We are very pleased to have been asked to be involved and look forward to the ‘kick off’ meeting. Future meetings will take place in Europe. For more information please email CCR 13

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