September E&C customer update
Dear E&C customer,
As promised, we wanted to continue sharing insight with you about some of the challenges faced by the drinks industry at this time, and also the actions E&C has taken to find solutions. We hope this will improve lines of communication with you, and address any potential frustration with ongoing disruption to our service levels.
Global supply chain disruption
We have received feedback from a few customers querying the continuing disruption to our supply chains, particularly spirits availability.
The underlying issues behind supply chain disruption are much more likely to affect global businesses. Ongoing news coverage has emphasised severe supply chain disruption affecting product range and availability at blue-chip players including McDonald’s, Greggs, Nando’s and KFC.
E&C prides itself on curating a world-leading portfolio of artisanal and premium producers. This, of course, includes many of the behemoths of the drinks industry. These international corporates (predominantly big players in spirits) have been hit by a huge range of complications, resulting in rolling out of stocks or shorted deliveries.
Examples of continued disruption include:
• Hundreds of cases being ordered by E&C, confirmed by the brand owner, yet zero cases being delivered with no advance notice or contingency plan for replacement stock
• Haulier drivers attempting to deliver out of hours, or outside of their booked delivery slots. (The national shortage of HGV drivers compounds this problem)
• Stock is continually being delivered as a “loose load” (meaning it isn’t packed in pallets), which we cannot process in our warehouse; this stock has to be returned and repackaged before we can receive it
• Cancelled deliveries owing to strike action
E&C service levels
Hopefully, the context around ongoing global supply chain issues goes some way to explaining why you have been affected by out of stocks.
In addition to this, we are aware that you may have experienced some delays in deliveries, or deliveries being made outside your typical delivery windows.
E&C prides itself on our operational excellence, and we have invested heavily in systems, infrastructure and training to deliver a seamless customer experience. We take the current disruption to our service levels very seriously, and our Operations teams are working around the clock to mitigate these issues, rectify them and to stabilise our service in the near future.
Staffing and resource
Currently, our delivery schedules are suffering from the knock-on effects of global supply chain disruption. As our warehouse teams are dealing with the backlog of goods-in, they are coming under intense pressure to process, pick, pack and route goods-out to our customers.
We have combatted this by recruiting additional resource to pad out the night shifts while recruiting widely across other areas of the business that were the most acute pressure points. Our new joiners have now been onboarded, and are helping to even out the workload for our teams.
Since our last customer update, the following teams have welcomed these new members:
• Credit control: 4 new team members
• Customer Service: 7 new team members
• Warehouse & Transport: 23 new team members
Our unique distribution proposition should provide next-day delivery to almost everywhere in the UK through our own vehicles and drivers. We have expanded our fleet to accommodate the surge in demand to include 10 new Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV). These larger trucks will operate out of:
• Livingstone (servicing Scotland)
• Wakefield (servicing Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle and the North-East)
• Manchester (servicing Manchester, Liverpool and the North-West)
• Coventry (servicing Coventry, Birmingham, Bristol and the South-West)
• London (servicing London and the South-East)
Not only will these HGVs provide additional delivery capacity direct to you, our customers, but also provide network support to E&C’s supply chain. That means trunking drinks to the afore-mentioned depots, and in some circumstances, collecting stock from brand owners, where their own supply chains continue to struggle.
We will be in contact shortly with further information around enhanced routing and deliveries.
We have secured secondary warehousing to accommodate fast-moving goods to ensure that we have ample stock to cover this period of sustained consumer demand. This means that we are holding increased par levels, often to a 12-week cycle, rather than our more normal 4-week replenishment.
Much of the above commentary is in reference to spirits and beer. We have now become accustomed to longer lead times around the world for wine procurement and very much hope you are seeing the benefits of improved availability. We have placed orders for significant volumes of product for the peak period (Q4 and Christmas) and expect to have plenty of delicious wine for you to sell to your customers.
In the meantime, thank you for your loyal custom,
Sam Thackeray & Ants Rixon