Country Range appoints head of commercial & data 

Katrina Crabtree has been promoted to head of commercial & data at the Country Range group and will now form part of the senior management team at the foodservice buying group.

As well as still working with a selection of key branded suppliers, Katrina will be leading the buying group’s new systems and data projects department, which has received significant investment over the past year and has been highlighted as an area for investment through the Group’s recent strategic review.

The new department has focused its resource on the development of the brand new CRGDirectory system, a bespoke platform for CRG members to access a number of different portals, all of which create efficiencies for several departments and also helps the central office team to automate many of its existing processes.

A brand new, upgraded trading focused Intranet, which is accessed via the CRGDirectory, went live in February. This is a replacement of the Group’s existing system with s improvements to user experience and search functionality, as well as plans for additional portals relating to technical and complaints processes in the future.

Read more: Country Range makes trio of appointments at central office

The other portal that members can access via the CRGDirectory is a brand new marketing assets library known as the CRGHub. This has recently been launched to members and will facilitate more effective use of the vast number of assets created by the Group, whether that is Country Range brand related photography, videography, sales support tools or industry insights and reports. The Group’s suppliers have also been invited to provide assets and tools that can be viewed and downloaded within the system, again creating efficiencies for the central office, members and suppliers too.

Elsewhere, the Group has significantly increased the investment into the existing PIM (Product Information Management) system to move it to an upgraded platform.  The data is currently being enriched with over 60 additional fields giving members a wider breadth of product
data. Country Range brand products are being enriched first and this will be followed by commodities, and then brands later in 2023. CRG’s members are utilising the knowledge and expertise across the Group and working together on a larger data validation project.
Martin Ward, Country Range Group Chief Executive, said: “In her 17 years at CRG, Katrina has become an important member of the central office team and an expert in her field. She’s highly regarded by everyone she works with and is also a crucial part of the senior management team so we’re thrilled she has agreed to become Head of Commercial & Data. With so much happening to our data and systems over the coming year for our members and suppliers, it’s imperative that the transition is managed as smoothly as possible and I have all the confidence in Katrina to deliver.”

Elsewhere at the company, the group recently played host to its latest Business Development event on Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th February.

The event was attended by over 150 visitors with more than 30 suppliers exhibiting. Head of Trading, Dean Pendlebury, commented: “Our BDDs form a crucial part of our Group calendar and provide numerous benefits for both our member wholesalers and suppliers. Whether it’s the face-to-face meetings, the vibrant selection of NPD from new and existing suppliers being showcased or the great opportunity for our buying and trading teams to discuss and finalise trade agreements, the event has proved a huge success for all involved.

The feedback from attendees has already been tremendous and with the number of orders generated over the two days and a variety of future sales leads, it’s clear it was financially beneficial too.”

Pete Evans of Lamb Weston Meijer said: “It was fantastic to connect with Country Range Group members at the latest BBD, and the perfect opportunity to present our latest product innovation, REALLY Crunchy Fries. Nothing beats speaking with customers face-to-face so events like this are incredibly valuable to us as a supplier. We’re already looking forward to the next BBD in September!”

The next Country Range Group Business Development Day is scheduled to take place at the end of September 2023 and any suppliers interested in being involved are asked to email or to contact their usual Country Range Group trading contact if they are already an existing supplier to the Group.

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Paul Hill is the Editor of Better Wholesaling. He can be found on Twitter at @BW_PaulHill, or contacted via and 07960935659.


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