Adrian Butler Outlines VOW’S Wholesale Focus At Green Light
VOW’s biggest reseller event to date, Green Light, saw managing director Adrian Butler take the opportunity to review the last 12 months and outline VOW’s vision for 2015.
In a talk to over 350 delegates from across the UK, Adrian revealed that VOW resellers had represented 71% of Vasanta Group sales in 2014, with the business continuing to invest in categories, services and support to drive reseller growth. In terms of its key reseller strategy, Adrian reinforced VOW’s mission to continue supporting those resellers that most support VOW.
In terms of growth in 2014, Adrian announced that Vasanta Group sales grew by 7%, VOW sales by 6% and VOW partner sales by 15%, highlighting significant strengths within VOW’s supporter base.
With impressive development across categories, particular highlights included the 11.9% year on year growth in facilities supplies, 15.9% growth in furniture and continued growth of 9.8% by PACT, VOW’s price and contract tender service.
Investments in 2014 included VOW’s new managed print services (MPS) programme, which saw 83% of resellers that attended the nine launch roadshows signing up. A dedicated MPS team will be expanded this year, to help resellers build on some early successes that have so far included several VOW partners being shortlisted in multi-million pound tenders.
Adrian also highlighted the Group’s reseller programme bokz, a pioneering reseller initiative designed to grow reseller businesses by combining their entrepreneurial, customer facing skills with EVO’s powerful logistics, procurement and marketing capabilities.
During the day at Green Light, the bokz management team gave resellers insights into the requirements for joining the bokz programme, explaining that reseller commitment to every element is fundamental to successful engagement. With bokz now driven by an impressive Microsoft NAV back office system, the technology behind the programme is proven and significant, but the team stressed that immersion in every aspect of the initiative is key to resellers growing and developing fully in partnership with bokz.
Dealing with the challenges of 2014, Adrian discussed the issues of an unsettled market, with spiky and seasonal product demand occasionally affecting vendor performance and therefore fill rate, while changes to cross docks and the introduction of new technology had slightly affected VOW’s usually high order success rates.
In a separate talk to delegates, national sales director Martin Weedall announced VOW’s new commitments to meet high targets in both areas, backed by an agreement-based promise to pay back a percentage of order value to VOW+ partners if these targets are not met.
Adrian: “We are extremely confident that we can do even better in 2015 and are willing to raise the stakes on our support to our most loyal resellers, hence our financially backed service commitment. The changes in our market are numerous and unrelenting but we are working across every category and service area to stay ahead of the game and ensure our partners can grow with us.
“Our commitment is completely focussed on being a wholesaler, which for us means constantly continuing to develop our infrastructure and offering to ensure that we deliver at levels that are not only exceptional in our industry, but anywhere.
“Being a wholesaler is about consistent industry leading fill rates, pushing the boundaries on pick success rates, being fit for the future by meeting demand for changing order sizes and packing requirements and enabling resellers to de-duplicate by utilising our infrastructure. Our £2 million investment in pharmaceutical industry levels of picking technology and further investment in additional off site storage close to our DCs is all part of that.”
Adrian also explained the rationale behind the Vasanta Group merger with o2o to create the EVO Group, a £660 million multi-channel distributor that will bring best in class procurement for customers and the opportunity to drive efficiency benefits by leveraging volume. With the merger presenting no channel conflict, Adrian said that EVO would bring the opportunity to build on individual strengths within the Group and create a successful, proven, channel management programme.
Adrian: “Our priorities for 2015 are to focus on our core competencies, get the right goods on the shelf, accurately picked and delivered on time. We will continue to invest to proactively adapt to market forces and invest in specialists across the business. Our focus is on being a wholesaler and helping to drive continued development and growth for every VOW supporting reseller.”