Despite what some may have you believe, wholesale is far from a lost cause. So much focus currently is around the negativity that is surrounding our channel. With buyouts, mergers and company failures, it is more important than ever before to get in the right people to drive your own business forward.
I am a young, ambitious individual and I am sure a lot of similar people would probably think it more prudent to plan a future in another industry instead. But I was born into wholesale. My family company is Jones Food Solutions, a Landmark Wholesale member based in Bath. The business is 107 years old and has survived recessions and world wars, so it can certainly take an evolving wholesale landscape in its stride.
The sheer amount of change in our channel has got me thinking about development, though. I have been in the family business for 13 years and my working life is potentially set to run for another 33 years.
For me, those companies that not only cultivate talent, but also bring in talent to create a diverse and dynamic team, will be the ones that thrive amid all the turmoil. This made me think that I wanted to ensure the same for both myself and also for my business – the family business.
So, I took the decision to go out into the big wide world to ensure that I have the experience and skills to face this new future.
A change of scene
What next? Well, I am starting my new journey in Glasgow – approximately 330 miles from home. I was always told to follow your heart and fear nothing – and I feel like I have done that with this decision, as tough as it was. I am now lucky to be able to work for the really inspiring business and leadership team of Sam and Barbara Henderson of Lomond Foods, whose innovation and success stories were featured in the previous issue of Better Wholesaling.
I really believe that it is imperative that current and future business leaders challenge themselves to work for other operators, suppliers or larger end-users. Doing so will give us a better perspective and add real value by sharing best practice, as well as continuing to grow and expand horizons.
In addition, we must as a collective simplify what we do, ensure fair pricing through the supply chain and demand that availability is high to allow the channel to continue to grow with independent businesses.
FMCG wholesale is still growing and we need to look at the industry from a different angle. There is so much to be positive about. I see the smaller operators growing. I see the innovation, product development, the wholesaler/supplier collaborations and the talented individuals that drive it all forward. How can we not be optimistic with all this going on?
I am excited for the next stage of my career. I look forward to helping Lomond grow and working to ensure that independent wholesale remains in good health.
We must all stand up as business leaders, attract and nurture talent, and continue to do what others cannot. That is my plan – what is yours?
Gavin Jones is the new commercial director at Lomond Foods, having joined from Jones Food Solutions