FWD’s Supplier Council

The Federation of Wholesale Distributors’ Supplier Council brings together wholesalers, suppliers and their associates to examine the machinery of wholesale distribution and to improve the efficiency of the supply chain.  The aim is to increase knowledge and co-operation by investigating, communicating and addressing the needs of each stakeholder – the brand owner, the distributor, the retail and foodservice customers and consumers.

As a company independent from the main participants, but with a keen interest and involvement within the sector, eXPD8 was invited to join the working party focussing on Retail.

The principle objective is to help independent retailers, because if these retailers thrive, then the wholesalers and brands will thrive too.  But first, the working party recognised that that the population of such independent retailers is ill-defined, and somewhat surprisingly, that their concerns, pressures and economics aren’t well understood.  This is a product of historical silo behaviour, and to some extent distrust between the various elements of the supply chain.

A perfect illustration of the challenge comes with the ubiquitous price marked packs.  These may give reassurance to the end consumer, and be preferred by brands who can control price, but they rob the retailer of a key advantage with their business which is to be flexible when setting prices and margin.  Why would you expect the price or margin requirement to be the same in a kiosk on the underground and rural farm shop?  What do you expect independent retailers to do in the face of the imminent ‘living’ wage cost increases?

Once a better understanding of the independent retailers is achieved, the plan is;

  • The FWD will be able to lobby on their behalf
  • The retailers can be advised / informed e.g. Competitive Offer, Retail Standards and Innovation
  • The Suppliers / Wholesalers can improve aspects of the Supply Chain e.g. Retail Support, Pack Size, Price Marked Packs

Still very much work in progress, but the FWD working party is most determined to achieve tangible improvements for all participants.  Watch this space!

Peter Bailey