Rural Lifestyle Dealer offers a comprehensive analysis of the 2017 Equipment Dealers Assn.’s 2017 Dealer-Manufacturer Relations Survey in the summer issue. Here's an excerpt featuring comments from Walker Manufacturing, which earned a Gold award. Walker's highest score among the 12 criteria as ranked by dealers was in the area of product quality. Walker's score of 6.26 was higher than the average mean score of all OPE manufacturers of 5.88. 

Bob Walker, president of Walker Manufacturing, comments on the company’s rankings:

On proud criteria: We are most proud of the high rating on “Manufacturer Response to Dealer Needs” and “Communication with Management.” We work to be a relationship-based company where we know our dealers and are accessible and responsive to them. These two categories taken together show we are achieving some good relationships with our dealers and will keep working to grow more in this area.

On short-term focused improvement area: We are working to improve our customer and technical "help desk” to be more responsive to incoming calls for assistance.

On recent changes: Our “Out Front Advantage” sales training program has been well received by dealers with 600 dealer personnel participating in our 2-day “boot camp” at the factory over the last 5 years.

On current trends: We are watching the trends/changes coming from the online world that we are all living in and the impact on power equipment dealers.

On strategy when missing the mark: Some of our test programs for new products have not worked well and have not given us the information we needed before launching a new product. However, we have stood behind our product and stood behind our dealers to make the product changes necessary for ultimate success in the market. At the same time, we have improved our test program protocol with good results on recent new product releases.

On plans for dealer network: We plan to continue having our products "sold with service" by dealers and are committed to the success and prosperity or our dealers.