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Why and How Truckstops Should Survey Vendors

Posted in: Great Ideas, Truckstop Business, Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators

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Welcome to the newest post in our blog series, Darren’s Great Ideas! for Independent Operators

Why and How Truckstops Should Survey Vendors

Often times the best great ideas come directly from NATSO members. Today’s great idea download is brought to readers with assistance from NATSO member Michael Sibley, president of LaPlace Travel Center in LaPlace, La.

Sibley attended the “Manager Your Vendors” educational session at the recent NATSO Show, which I presented. As I shared in Savannah, an important competent of vendor management is to fully understand what your vendors want. In addition, they also want to know what you want. You are essentially each other’s customers.

If you do not understand what the vendor needs, which is often not as simple as selling you more stuff, and the vendor does not understand what you need, both organizations will never reach full selling capability. Daily, monthly and annually you will leave opportunities on the table that never will make their way to either organization’s P & L and the opportunity to realize increased profitability will never materialize. Vendor surveys as well as face-to-face meetings with your vendor partners to ascertain needs are invaluable.

Using this communication best practices shared during the session, Sibley returned home from The NATSO Show and created a “how are we doing as your customer” survey for his vendors. The purpose of the survey is to really judge his operation’s performance when it came to vendor relations and communication. He used the free survey service, Survey Monkey, to collect the results.

He has been kind enough to allow us to post this as a downloadable sample to share with others. It is working for him; we hope it will work for you!

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/// Read more Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators posts here

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.