Paul Hill learned eight tips for wholesalers at Manhattan Associates’ 2019 Exchange in Barcelona
The annual Manhattan Exchange presents a variety of ideas to the wholesale and retail worlds. These focus on exciting new trends in logistics and the supply chain.
“Wholesalers are now effectively mini distribution centres rather than cash and carry operations. This means companies are required to be multifaceted within their current frameworks,” explained Manhattan Associates president Eddie Capel.
“Businesses can improve their sustainability credentials through package consolidation, inventory management systems and transport optimisation.” David Hogg, vice president of business development at Logistyx, added: “The best piece of advice I can give to any wholesale operation is to stick to the standard and not overcomplicate processes unless it’s really needed.”
Capel and Hogg, along with a variety of other industry delegates, offered tips such as this, with a spokesperson calling this period of time the “consumerisation of wholesale”, in which the balance of power has shifted to the customer, meaning businesses need to adjust.
Eight things you can do to stay ahead and prosper in this evolving marketplace:
1. Make sure your inventory is clear You can only serve customers if you have the items they need in stock. That means not just making products visible in depot, but prominent online or in an app.
2. Equip all staff with a depth of information about customers and products That way, the same high level of service can be delivered, regardless of the method in which the customer chooses to do business with you.
3. Don’t ignore employee relationships at the expense of customer relationships Find ways to give managers time on the depot floor. Leaders need to be out alongside employees in order to observe first-hand what is happening.
4. Offer customers responsiveness and options Foodservice customers in particular may have an unpredictable demand at unsociable times, so create
the ability and reputation to adjust at short notice.
5. Consider new delivery options Listen to your customers and learn what they require. You may be able to set your business apart by offering new options such as click-and-collect, next-day and named-day.
6. Offer an easy return system Offer a simple process when a customer returns an item in a re-sellable condition. Be sure to consider both sides of the argument, see the bigger picture and don’t risk the threat of them not returning.
7. Contain costs through fulfilment efficiency Leverage inventory visibility to pinpoint items in your network, and consider variables such as labour, fuel
and fleet status.
8. Expand workforce as soon as necessary As new delivery formats and smaller shipments become increasingly commonplace, skills will need to evolve and the labour force may need to expand quickly when demand warrants it.