Unitas marked its first full year of trading with a supplier update event (1 November 2019) where it shared its progress to date and laid out its plans for the future.
The event was attended by senior managers from more than 90 of the wholesale services company’s key supplier partners.
Managing Director Darren Goldney; Retail Director John Kinney and Trading Director John Bains ran the rule over the past 12 months, including retail, foodservice, on-trade and specialist categories across the company’s reach of 170 members and 177,000 customers.
“A year ago, we presented our mission for Unitas to be ‘champion of independents and champion of brands’, which remains our focus,” said Goldney. “We shared our plan to move from a buying group to a selling group, to use our increased scale to be a relevant route to market for suppliers, anchored in efficiency and effectiveness.
“We set out 10 key elements that we would tackle to lower our operating costs and improve our efficiency as we merged two companies into one, and I’m delighted with our progress. We’ve already achieved eight, one is underway, and one launches in January.”
The key achievements for Unitas to improve its efficiency include:
- one point of contact
- one event programme
- one core B2B promotional programme
- one core B2C promotional programme
- one digital programme
- one core range scheme
- one finance process
- one focused own label.
The organisation will move to one data platform in January, while one central payment system is under development. This will make the invoicing system more streamlined and take more than 50,000 invoices out of the system, freeing up more than £1m worth of supplier time.
Other highlights discussed included the success and opportunity of Picture Portal, the enhanced roll out of Plan for Profit, and the launch of Brand Box next year which will enable suppliers to drive products directly into independent retailers.