There are over 8 million people living in London and 65 million in the UK… they all need feeding and they all have varying tastes and they all, want feeding fast!
Food and drink wholesalers and distributors supply and support over 400,000 retail and foodservice businesses across the UK.
There is no doubt food wholesaling is a challenging business. Often businesses face small margins, frequent price fluctuations and a fast-paced supply chain where inventory changes daily. Product has to be delivered fresh and most food items have a limited shelf life. Couple that with a sector that is rightly, tightly regulated, and it is clear that logistically food wholesaling is hard to get right! :) Wholesalers need to be able to react to pricing changes fast and reflect those back to customers to protect their margins. They need an ordering process that is responsive, automated and quick! There is a solution and the best food wholesalers and distributors invest in systems, automation and harness the power of the cloud to protect margins and deliver a more profitable and scalable business.
The Digital Opportunity
Many food companies run large teams of telesales people that take the orders over the phones but then there is little capacity to scale …..is it sensible to add more people into the business and what about the opportunities presented by online. Many of their orders are placed by busy chefs and restauranteurs as soon as they finish at night. They will go on their phones or web and want to be able to order fast, quality food delivered the next day. Food wholesaling is a 24-hour business; and needs processes that are also working for the business every one of those 24 hours!
In addition, wholesalers are competing with the likes of Costco, and other retailers selling directly to the consumer. This trend is increasing in an effort to speed delivery and reduce supply chain costs. Large retailers buy directly from the manufacturer bypassing wholesalers.
In “Facing the Forces of Change: Decisive Actions for an Uncertain Economy”, a recent research study on wholesale distribution published by the National Association of Wholesaler & Distributors in the US; the author, Guy Blissett concluded,
Gone are the days of overly cautious and slow decision-making processes. The business world is moving too fast, and wholesaler-distributors must be informed, intelligent and nimble enough to make rapid but prudent decisions, and then adjust and iterate as necessary.
Food wholesaling has to embrace the opportunity presented by digital transformation… it will allow them to compete in today’s world and help them build a flexible 24-hour operation responsive to change that will allow them to scale their businesses into the future.