Sunday 6 March 2016

How Should We Organise & Source Trader Representatives?

Trader Representatives at QVM perform important tasks in the operation of the market. They act as a communication channel for information that flows to traders from management and other sources, information that flows from traders to management and other destinations, and of course, information that flows between traders. How can we maximise the impact of Trader Representatives particularly when it comes to communication?

Current Set-up – we currently have 11 trader representatives positions organised as follows –
2  to represent General Merchandise (PE traders)
2  to represent General Merchandise (SL traders)
1  to represent Dairy Produce Section
1 to represent Fruit and Vegetable (PE traders)
1 to represent Fruit and Vegetable (SL traders)
1 to represent Meat, Fish and Rabbit Section
2 to represent Leaseholders (including F Shed and food caravan operators)
1 Trader appointed by the traders association.

Although there are 11 positions, only 8 representatives regularly attend meetings which means that a significant number of traders are unrepresented.

There are probably two key considerations here. Are there enough representatives? Renewal is going to bring with it a huge workload. Casual traders don’t have a specific representative, nor do night market traders. 60 or so leaseholders have 2 representatives while 400 or so specialty merchandise traders in the top end have only 4 representatives. More representatives would help spread the load.

The other key consideration is how we organise representatives. Currently we do it by trader category. Should we perhaps do it by geographical areas? One of the important issues for current trader representatives is how to maximise contact with their constituents, and that is an ongoing battle. In the Dairy Hall and Meat, Fish Hall, category and location are easier to co-ordinate. Representatives are located in clearly defined areas close to their constituents. The Fruit & Vegetable sectors are split so that is not so easy. In the top end, representatives have a much larger area and traders move their locations from day to day so the logistics of being close to your constituents becomes very difficult. Would it be practicable to have two representatives for J,K,L Sheds and SBA, and two for C,D, and E Sheds and perhaps the F Shed shops?

There has been a suggestion to locate a Trader Representatives office in the top end which would give traders a clearly identifiable location for information exchange. The information flow then becomes more reliant on traders going to a representative’s office and less on representatives going out to traders. There has also been consideration of having a paid administrator to handle this process on a fulltime basis.

Obviously there are many options and now we need your help. What do you think of these proposals? What other ideas do you have? What would work best for you as a trader?