James Bielby

Bielby column: Wholesale braced for new era

The FWD Chief Executive looks towards an exciting future for the industry, with technology, training and Wholesale News (of course) taking centre stage

Welcome to the future of wholesale. The title of our conference next month couldn’t be more appropriate, as we’re primed for wholesale change in our sector.

A few months ago a list of the biggest names in wholesale would have included Palmer & Harvey and Conviviality; today those biggest names should include Morrisons and Co-op, and tomorrow we might have to think about adding Alexa and Siri to that list as well. These are transformational times.

While the recent easing of competition in the overcrowded wholesale market has given the remaining players some breathing space, none of them can afford to ignore the structural, technological and economic shifts coming our way.

A new era

With that in mind we’ve made some transformations of our own at FWD. You’re looking at the first one; a new Wholesale News – digging deeper into the issues and gathering opinions, advice and insight from inside the channel and out. Congratulations to our new editor, Chris Evans, and the team, they’ve taken the monthly magazine to a new level.

As a mouthpiece for FWD it’s the conduit through which suppliers and wholesalers can talk to each other, and we hope it’ll quickly become required reading for both. We’re already looking forward to the next one.

Join us online

While there is a place for a monthly digest of activity and analysis, dead trees don’t break news. That’s why we’ve moved the day-to-day reporting of activity in our channel to the FWD website, fwd.co.uk. When FWD wholesalers make an announcement, you’ll read it there first, and when you want your products and promotions to set the trade alight, our site will be the place to fan the flames. Visiting wholesalenews.co.uk will take you to the latest industry news, straight from the heart of FWD.

We are backing this up with industry facts and figures, insight on the customer base, advice on dealing with impending legislation and details of our networking and training events; in short, everything you need to keep up with what’s happening in wholesale.

The companies which survive and thrive in this brave new world will invest in the top available talents to help them with the transformation. There’s a real need to attract the best and brightest new wholesalers – to train them, incentivise them and offer them fulfilling and challenging career progression. As part of our remit to promote wholesale, we are selling the industry to the next generation through our online presence. We want to show job seekers, school leavers and graduates that there’s a role in wholesale for them. For those who commit to a career, we offer training courses and bursaries for career development.

What’s next?

Things are moving fast in wholesale and so are we. In fact, that’s the title of our conference on 28 June: Fast FWD>> The Future of Wholesale. Don’t get left behind; join us at St George’s for an answer to the only question that matters; what’s next?

Future of Wholesale FWD column James Bielby wholesale Wholesale News