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Stronger together: manufacturers and wholesalers

Support from manufacturers is key to ensuring your business runs smoothly, and Marshall-Tufflex is proud of its tradition of only selling to wholesalers for the last 75 years. Although, it was only thanks to an unlikely twist of events that this direct sales channel came about…

2017 was a milestone year for Marshall- Tufflex; on May 28th it celebrated 75 years in business with almost 50 of those years dedicated to producing cable management systems – all thanks to a misunderstanding on the factory floor by a visiting electrical wholesaler.

Brief history

In early 1970 electrical work was being carried out in one of the Hastings factories and Eric Wood, Manager of local wholesaler City Electrical Factors, visited to assess the job. He spotted what he thought was plastic conduit coming off a production line and asked about it.

The first recorded sale of cable management was in April 1970 to the Hastings region of CEF, paving the way for the ‘honourable and straightforward’ fashion in which Marshall-Tufflex has continued to do business with its wholesalers and its commitment to always supplying through them.

The company says that the strong relationships Marshall-Tufflex builds with contractors allows distributors to backsell product. Wholesalers are also encouraged to get involved with project planning from an early stage. It’s a triangle of trust – manufacturer, wholesaler, contractor – all working together to supply the right product, of the best quality, for the right price at the right time. Collaboration also allows the sharing of project information to drive business both ways.

Today Marshall-Tufflex, an Affiliate member of the Electrical Distributors’ Association, has the largest dedicated cable management field sales force with Area Sales Managers and Project and Specification Managers on the road liaising with specifiers, contractors, electrical systems designers and M&E specialists to drive specs through to wholesale partners. UK Sales Director Jon Chamberlain explains: “Electrical wholesalers are an integral part of our business and we have always strived to maintain traditional values in our dealings with them. This focus has allowed us to create a very strong network of distributor partners who bring value to our company with stock-on-shelf support. The trust and strength we build as partnerships allows us the scope to win projects together. It’s good business for them and good business for us.”

Practical support

Values may be traditional, but investment in customer support ensures Marshall- Tufflex offers a modern and responsive service.

Its unique same day collection service operates from its depots in London and Manchester, with next-day collection from its manufacturing base in Hastings, East Sussex. Account-holding electrical distributors can collect orders (subject to stock availability), two hours after placement.

“Competitors, at best, only offer next day delivery, so offering a collection service with a two hour turnaround from receipt of order (subject to stock availability) is of real benefit to contractors and drives business throughout wholesale partners,” says Jon.

More recently, customer feedback has led to two new initiatives to make site deliveries easier and a more attractive option for customers:

• A reduction in pack quantities on a selection of key product ranges

• No minimum order value for deliveries direct to site.

These deliveries will not be made by Marshall-Tufflex’s own delivery fleet and therefore a carriage charge will be applicable and a signed disclaimer required.


Training is also critical, with Marshall- Tufflex ensuring that wholesalers – and contractors – have a full understanding of its products and their features/benefits to enable them to advise contractors on the best product or solution. Marshall-Tufflex Area Sales Managers run breakfast events within branches and product training sessions for counter staff to learn about issues facing contractors and see how products have been developed to help with these. Hands-on training and getting to see and touch cable management products really helps.


New product launches are good business for the manufacturer and good business for the wholesaler and Marshall-Tufflex is somewhat prolific in bringing new, innovative ideas to market. Time-saving solutions such as quick-fit Wire Basket, MT Supertube, MT32, punched trunking and single piece fittings, are especially popular.

All products and systems are supported by full technical literature and catalogue support, which is always available to wholesalers along with targeted marketing support and access to the Marshall-Tufflex Technical Team of qualified electricians, electrical and mechanical engineers with many years experience of cable management installations and regulatory/compliancy requirements in domestic and commercial sectors.


For some suppliers the internet provides an easy route direct to market but Marshall-Tufflex remains true to its heritage and maintains that wholesalers are best placed to supply. Their expertise in project planning, stock, customer contractor relationships and product knowledge ensures they remain an essential part of the supply chain. Wholesalers are developing online channels for selling, which is being supported.

Where the internet excels is in servicing technical queries, brochure downloads etc. For Marshall-Tufflex, it is an important channel of communication with customers, giving contractors and specifiers the ability to gain information instantly about our product offer, technical data sheets or literature. In addition, social media has opened up friendlier discussions between manufacturers, customers, wholesalers, consultants, contractors and end users.

Critical conclusions

Marshall-Tufflex’s approach to supplying customers has always set it apart. It has always been committed to using electrical wholesalers. The company has developed a strong network of distributors whom it supports by creating demand through specification; in short, electrical wholesalers are partner critical to its business.

To learn more about Marshall-Tufflex, visit: www.marshall-tufflex.com

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