Do we need more super wholesalers?

In an opinion column we published in June last year, the MD of Landmark, Martin Williams, urged suppliers to stop making cuts in our channel.

He said that of the top 20 suppliers he works with, 16 of them had implemented changes resulting in “good, solid people leaving our channel”.  

The impact that these cuts have had became apparent as I worked on this issue’s cover story. Not only do many wholesalers need more ‘face time’ with suppliers, smaller businesses on remote islands are struggling to meet the minimum orders of some big brands. One Glasgow-based wholesaler has stepped in to help, offering to distribute to smaller neighbouring businesses, which I thought was a great example of collaboration in our channel. Do we need more ‘super’ wholesalers?

Another issue that’s cropped up this month is around supplier availability. Since the birth of Better Wholesaling, we’ve talked about the importance of being well stocked, but good availability should apply up and down the supply chain: one soft drink supplier failed to provide Hughson Brothers with a £25k delivery, devastating sales, while JB Foods was left hanging after a hot dog promotion fell through. 

Even Musgrave’s Noel Keeley says his service levels are 98% to 99% but suppliers are servicing him at 95%, which could be costing him millions.

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