2012: A Year of Challenges

April 16, 2013

2012 was full of both challenges and new opportunities. Summer proved to be a difficult time and the economic situation looked decidedly shaky. Our members faced these difficult times by supporting new business initiatives, launching new products and services, promoting hydration and encouraging sustainable methods of operation.

Let’s take a look at what we did in 2012. 

Chair


Alain Adler was elected as the new Chairman for WE. As the European economy goes through tough times, Alain stresses the importance of re-framing these challenges and finding creative solutions. In his view,  A WE needs to remain focused and consistent in what we do, and keep providing existing customers with extra services and new products.

Members


In 2012 WE reinforced its communication with both its members and the rest of the world, thereby uniting all members and increasing membership in the Association. We welcome all new members and are particularly proud to announce the membership of Waterlogic. Waterlogic is one of the leading largest Point of Use manufacturer/operator/service companies in Europe. Matthew Lee, Mergers & Aquisitions Director at Waterlogic Plc: “Waterlogic has aligned itself with WE because of our strong commitment to high standards and our lobbying power with national and international bodies.”

The more WE members have, the stronger WE becomes. 

Eastern Europe


We are delighted to see our members from Eastern Europe successfully expanding their businesses. Two representatives from Eastern Europe are now on the WE EXECO. The WE board is a good example of professionals working together, representing a number of countries and National Associations. WE encourage all members to share knowledge, reach an equal level of business development and discuss different points of view.

Sustainable Future


According to Zenith International, the current focus should be on environmental issues. Although affordability is still a key  element for purchasers, the demand for sustainable goods will  also be very important in the decision-making process. Environmentally friendly packaging will also have a significant influence on the industry’s future.

Aqua Awards


Our member’s focus on sustainability and innovation was clear at the Aqua Awards. WE received a record number of entries (38) for several categories.

Summer


During 2012, worldwide bottled water sales seemed to increase, but this was not the case in the water cooler industry in Europe, where the weather prevented the anticipated growth in consumption.

Weather


Alain Adler’s view on Sip-Well’s post-summer results in Belgium however was very positive. Adler: “Sip-Well as a company scored very well in 2012.Our billboard and TV campaign, which was aimed at the residential market, made up for the poor weather. I can only imagine the great results we would have had if the sun had been out more often! Glyn Jones from Princes Gate said: “We acquired one of our competitors - Park Water - in April, and the integration has kept us more than busy. This has added extra volume to our business, as well as an increase in water sales and revenue. Needless to say, conditions remain very tough as the recession continues to bite”.

2013


Experts are confident for a good 2013 and expectations are high. Their advice? ”Prepare carefully, examine strategies and working methods and enjoy a positive and profitable 2013”.

Diane Koyich from Crystal Mountain gives an example: “Being a seasonal business, we always look at our summer sales to evaluate our situation. This summer, in the UK, whilst the weather was disappointing and there was still a feeling of a challenging economic climate, water cooler sales at Crystal Mountain were very encouraging across our extensive cooler range. In talking to customers, we are led to believe this is as a result of customers now requiring new coolers, either as a result of replacing redundant obsolete stock, or new opportunities requiring new machines.  In Europe, the summer was reasonable and, again, our sales were very encouraging. Over the seasons, we saw a steady purchase of both our traditional models and our newest Elite model, and we ended the year in a better position than the last two years. So, to conclude, this year, we have seen our market share going from strength to strength, but there is still a cautious feeling. Many of our customers keep tight control on stock, to make sure they only order the coolers they really need. We are optimistic for 2013, but are also very careful managing our inventory and working with customers to evaluate their upcoming needs to avoid unnecessary shipping and storage costs”. 

Innovation


All companies need to   continue with their efforts to save costs and invest in innovation, while simultaneously keeping an eye on the environment, paying special attention to customer care and giving clients new reasons to buy our products.

Many of the speakers we have listened to in Istanbul in 2012, (and every year), have reminded us that complacency and lack of flexibility spell doom for any industry, and many examples can be found in history.

It is encouraging to see so many WE members considering and implementing such diverse options and paths to profitability.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

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