Last week (28 July) the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee backed the decision by the Government to set up a Grocery Adjudicator to oversee the relationship between supermarkets and suppliers.
Putting aside the fact that adding to the general regulatory burden is never going to be welcomed by anyone, including me, I believe the general principles behind this move of working in partnership along the supply chain should be embraced by retailers, wholesalers and suppliers alike.
The key is to foster and build real partnerships that focus on both sides and are hinged on shared risk and shared reward. The natural reaction of some retailers to apply the thumbscrews to suppliers wherever possible is not sustainable forever. Conversely, a supplier who does not supply goods in line with changing industry trends, or a wholesaler who simply shifts boxes’ will find it increasingly hard to survive.
As our new report on the wholesale sector found, amid this increasingly complex route to market traditional roles are blurring. In some sectors, the rationalisation of supply chains is threatening the wholesale function altogether. In other areas the fragmenting demands of the consumer now mean that new opportunities are emerging. Moreover, this trend is also impacting across the whole consumer universe as our report from last year on the New Consumer illustrates.
However, above all the overriding message is that partnerships, where the aim is to create a win-win situation, should be the ultimate goal. Simple as it may sound, help me to help you must be at the heart of the retailer/wholesaler/supplier relationship.