SERVICE&MORE is driven by its own aspiration to make its partners more successful. 296 retail partners, including 137 interior designers and 159 furniture retailers, rely on SERVICE&MORE to set the pace and can take advantage of its services not just all over Austria, but now also in South Tyrol, Slovenia and soon in Croatia.
SERVICE&MORE is the biggest purchasing and service organisation for the specialist interiors sector in Austria. Our partners in 369 locations nationwide employ in total around 3300 people and currently have a combined annual turnover of €450 million. Christian Wimmer, Managing Director of SERVICE&MORE says: "Our partner companies account for over 10% of the market. That's a big but not entirely unexpected achievement, when you think that these are highly committed and individual small and medium-sized companies that are up against global superstores."
SERVICE&MORE, which has 25 employees, sees itself as a professional partner for these businesses in relation to buying, marketing and business management. Wimmer: "Our services are always rooted in practice so we can make an important contribution to the economic security of our retail partners."
TThe retail partners operating in the market are affiliated to one of the two associations, GARANT Austria and WOHNUNION. The companies in GARANT Austria are furniture retailers and specialist domestic installation companies which see themselves as general contractors, coordinating the work of different tradesmen. The members of the WOHNUNION are interior designers and craftsmen who fit flooring, fabric, curtains and wallpaper and carry out painting, decorating and façade work and all finishing processes to a very high technical standard.
The members of both associations are all owner-managed family companies which have been well-known and established in their region for many years or, in some cases, decades. They enjoy the confidence of their customers and are regional specialists who stand for first-class product quality and fair prices. SERVICE&MORE reinforces the retailer's own brand locally while keeping the association's brand in the background, something which distinguishes it from other similar associations.
The SERVICE&MORE team looks at strategies for exploiting new sales channels and analyses opportunities in neighbouring countries. Finding suitable employees for our member companies and supporting the next generation in family-owned companies are also important matters that are always on the association's agenda. Wimmer: "Our industry needs the best brains, both for members of staff and for senior managers. We can help here in various ways."
With the Training Academy, the association is investing in the technical and social skills of its members' employees.
In addition, in 2015 SERVICE&MORE introduced "Club25" – a series of events for young managers. "The aim of the project was mainly to deliver technical content and to bring our retail partners and suppliers together with the young entrepreneurs, because, as in many other sectors, networking is an important part of our work. Sharing experience within the group was equally important," says Wimmer. The members met twice a year to find out more about business management, efficient and effective team and staff leadership, sales management and the basic principles of business economics. Other focus areas included regionalism and sustainability management. The programme included visits to suppliers and retail partners. Another important idea behind the concept was that the participants learnt more about the GARANT Austria and WOHNUNION organisations – above all, the benefits and advantages that being in the association could bring for them. "Young businesspeople should have the chance to build up experience before they start out in the sector. We want to give the next generation the best possible opportunities to advance their careers," explains Wimmer.
In December 2018, 17 graduates attended a closing event to celebrate the successful completion of the first cycle of "Club25". The second cycle of "Club25" is planned to run from 2019 to 2022 and is still under development. Five specially coordinated modules enable the young people who will take over businesses in the future to target their training on what they need. The partnership with LIMAK, a recognised specialist in postgraduate leadership training, has added wide-ranging and in-depth specialist material and constitutes an important further development in the training programme.
From terms and conditions to central regulation, throughout Austria
SERVICE&MORE supports small and medium-sized companies in the core competencies of buying, marketing and business management. Its activities cover a wide spectrum, including collective T&Cs, mystery shopping, training courses and advice on strategy, regular sharing of experience with colleagues, its own exclusive branded product range and central regulation of supplier invoices. The individuality and personal responsibility of the member companies is strictly preserved and intelligently supported in a committed partnership. This form of constructive cooperation gives our retail partners the chance to take advantage of the power and experience of a big organisation for the benefit of their own companies.
Marketing Manager Andreas Schwaiger: "It's important to treat each partner as an individual, to understand their story and their needs and set their goals with that in mind, because every single company with SERVICE&MORE has its own distinctive character. In order to both ensure customer satisfaction and attract new partners, we must recognise and clearly define the uniqueness and strengths of every business and translate those into the right course of action. That's how long-term success can be achieved."
For supplier partners, the benefits include our retailers' high degree of loyalty to their suppliers, nationwide market development, ongoing support with marketing and payment security. Provided the quality of service meets our high standards, we give preference to Austrian suppliers.