Supply chain remains strong, says wholesaler

Whatever the challenges facing business at the moment, it appears the there are signs of strong performance in the country’s supply chain.

That’s according to market research carried out by a leading UK non-food wholesaler which suggests the relationships between wholesalers, customers and suppliers remain stronger than ever before.

But it hasn’t been without issues, according to Stax Trade Centres, of Birmingham, who report that Maintaining stock levels, for example, presented challenges. The company dealt with it as best they could to keep up with demand.

Several areas of the market were even boosted by increased sales figures despite the current situation, according to Joint Managing Director David Hibbert.

“Suppliers told us that demand for their products has increased during recent months, in some cases by very significant margins, with DIY and gardening products being a prime example,” He said.

“Some respondents felt this had significantly increased the importance of the supplier/wholesaler relationship, and the wider route to market which the wholesaler provides.

“Whilst we realise the past six months have not been perfect, our own experience certainly bears this out. We have seen stock going out of our stores as fast as we can bring it in, which has given us many challenges to contend with. We’ve had to adapt and find new ways of doing things, but the results of our efforts are certainly reflected in our latest set of financial accounts which will be published shortly.”

As part of the research, many of the independent retailers who rely on Stax were quick to point out how their ability to be more flexible and agile than their larger rivals has been a key advantage.

Improvements to Stax’s digital presence also helped customers respond effectively to challenges such as purchasing stock and adapting to new trading conditions, allowing them to remain busy throughout the pandemic.

“Suppliers realised that online trading has been more important than ever before,” said David. “It has helped to fill the gap created by the lack of face-to-face contact between people and has played an important part in helping get their product out into the marketplace and into the hands of their customers.”

Key brands such as Dulux, Sikkens and Primeur enjoyed a secure supply chain throughout the pandemic, he added.