Can you tell me who you are and what your job role is at Vernacare?
My name is Paul McIntyre and I'm Vernacare's National Business Development Manager. My team works with distributors to sell our personal hygiene and environmental cleaning products to the long-term care, surgical and dental sectors. We cover the UK and Ireland.
Where were you working before you came to Vernacare?
I was National Sales Manager B2B for Synergy Health, which was acquired by Vernacare in November 2017. Although I have a different job title, my role is very similar to before. The big difference is that we have a much broader product offering for our distributors. We already have market leadership in this sector for our Conti® personal hygiene wipes and other brands, but we are now introducing the Vernacare single-use system.
What is a typical day like for you?
With a customer base of nearly 500 distributors, I cover a lot of miles and see a lot of the UK and Ireland. One day I might be assisting a distributor with a sales call in Cornwall, another day I could be negotiating an exclusive own-label agreement in Scotland. There's also a lot of admin to do in terms of working out pricing and sorting out deliveries and answering all sorts of queries.
I'm in constant communication with my sales team, so supporting them is a big part of the job. I also spend a lot of time educating and training our distributors, particularly at the moment as we are introducing them to the Vernacare single-use system.
"We work very hard to deliver value with our high quality British manufactured products."
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I love everything about my job, particularly working with our distributors. Many of them have been customers for more than 20 years and we have a really good relationship. They are true partners and I enjoy adding value to their business to ensure that we succeed together.
The best bit of my job is educating and training our distributors' sales and customer service teams so that they have thorough product knowledge and are ambassadors for our brand. We really put a lot of effort into this and the feedback is usually fantastic.
What are the challenges of your role?
The biggest challenge, particularly for our personal hygiene wipes market, is competition from Asia. Our products are all designed and manufactured in Britain, so it is difficult to compete on price with these cheaper Foreign imports. We can, however, compete on quality, reliability, service and flexibility. Happily, we're finding that customers, who were previously seduced by cheaper prices, are coming back. They realise that it is false economy due to the fact that they use more products because of the inferior quality and the inflexibility of supply. With squeezed budgets in the care sector we work very hard to deliver value with our high quality British manufactured products.
What do you think is critical to ensure success?
Customer care underpins our success. We believe in building long-term relationships with our distributors and meeting their needs. We invest in training and educating them to a very high standard and we take great care to meet their individual needs. This involves ensuring that we respond to enquiries rapidly – always within 24 hours and that our service is very flexible and personal. We work on very short lead times and delivery is 3-5 days, compared to 2-4 weeks from alternative UK suppliers or months from overseas suppliers.
Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I'm a wine maker and produce my own-label Paul McIntyre reds. It's an eco-friendly operation as my friends have to return their used bottles, before I give them new supplies. I'm also a Bolton Wanderers' season ticket holder, which has been a bit painful over recent years. That's probably why I need to drink wine!