Winners at the FWD awards tell Tan Parsons about how their success is boosting their businesses.
The wholesalers that took top honours at the Federation of Wholesale Distributors Gold Medal Awards have revealed what a boost the recognition is delivering to their businesses.
Claire Buckel, symbol development manager at Today’s member Dee Bee Distribution, claimed the top honours for the customer support category. She says that besides being a tremendously prestigious award in its own right, it is a brilliant way of showing your customers how much you care.
Within hours of her victory, the news had been posted on the Dee Bee website, urging interested retailers to get in touch.
“Winning was one of the proudest moments of my life,” said Buckel. “There’s a lot of passionate people in wholesale and it means a lot when you are recognised for your work, when you put your heart and soul into your job. It’s a great accolade and it shows people just how passionate we are about our business.”
One of her greatest successes in 2014 was helping a retail customer whose business was losing £6,000 a week since a Co‑op opened on the same street. She put together a plan of action with the customer, based around increasing the chilled range and the bakery section, offering home deliveries to elderly customers, and putting in a free cash machine.
“Within seven months the business had claimed back every penny in weekly takings.”
Creed Foodservice, a member of the Country Range Group, took home the award for wholesaler service to foodservice. Managing director Philip de Ternant said he considered this particular title to be the ‘blue riband’ award of the industry.
“As a business that is completely focused on ‘delivering quality’, this external peer recognition for excellence gives us confidence in expressing our brand to potential customers, as well as giving existing customers confidence in their choice of foodservice wholesaler,” he said.
He added that the highlight of 2014 for Creed has been how the business has adapted as a team to two external influences: the loss of a major account and the team’s commitment to managing the exit professionally at all levels; and the recent EU allergen legislation, which came into effect on December 13.
De Ternant said: “There is no doubt many were unprepared, but the feedback from our customers regarding our execution has been extremely positive. And, of course, securing the gold medal is another highlight.”
Driver Martin Hancox from Landmark member Blakemore Foodservice was also celebrating after being crowned delivered wholesale driver of the year.
Blakemore Foodservice Wakefield general manager Mark Flynn said: “Martin is an extraordinary asset who always puts 110% into his role. Martin has been with the company for just over three years and has gone far above and beyond his expected duties. He is dedicated both to the team and, more importantly, to his customers.
“I’d like to say a huge congratulations to Martin for winning this award. His commitment to the business and all his hard work is very much appreciated.”