Award-winning wholesaler JW Filshill and its convenience store group, KeyStore, have been once again been ranked number one by suppliers in an independent UK-wide industry survey.

The respected Advantage Group Report, which asks suppliers to rate a defined set of wholesalers and symbol groups across across the whole of the UK covering several categories ranging from category and business development to supply chain management, payment processes and execution of promotional and marketing plans, saw Filshill come out on top in the wholesale channel programme for the ninth year in succession while KeyStore led the fascia groups for the third consecutive year.

Simon Hannah, Glasgow-based Filshill’s chief executive officer, said: “It has been part of our strategy for many years to take a partnership approach to working with suppliers by collaborating with them and sharing information and making them part of our success story – we view suppliers as part of the extended Filshill family.

“Through open and honest dialogue with suppliers we can identify opportunities and by sharing the insight/data we gather from our supply chain technology we are able to find solutions, predict key growth areas and work together on future plans, including new product development.”

Mr Hannah said that adopting virtual meeting techniques during Covid had been beneficial in strengthening relationships with suppliers and forging new ones. “Some people we may not have always been able meet face to face pre-Covid for various reasons found it easier to engage with us in virtual meetings, and that gave us an opportunity to give them a better insight into our business and plans for the future,” he said.

“I am extremely proud of our hardworking team for consistently achieving such high standards, particularly during what has been a challenging time for suppliers and our retail customers. One supplier alluded to our people being a ‘key strength’ and Filshill’s ‘strong team’ – that is testament to their commitment to our business and customers.”

The convenience/symbol group survey, which included over 300 online submissions from suppliers, was conducted earlier this year, as was the wholesaler survey which had over 200 submissions from suppliers. All submissions were anonymous.

In the fascia group survey, one supplier contributing to the survey commented: “We would say JW Filshill-KeyStore fascia do things better than anyone else in the convenience channel by some distance. It is very much a two-way conversation around pricing, product and what we are both trying to do, which makes coming to decisions effortless. They do large volumes with us, they do it very well, they are extremely efficient.”

Another commented: “A key strength of JW Filshill-KeyStore is their willingness to work in partnership with manufacturers.”

In the wholesaler survey, another supplier said: “Because JW Filshill are very collaborative and open, we feel the same message transpires all the way through the business with them. They want to share what is important to them but they also take an interest in what is important to us which makes the channel of communication a lot clearer. They are willing to support us on our agendas which just makes everything so much easier.”

Talking about Filshill’s strategic approach to the business, another supplier commented: “Our business with JW Filshill is very straightforward. There is no smoke and mirrors. We have a plan and if it falls in line with what they agree, then we run with it. If it does not, we have a discussion about why and we find a solution. There is no extra confusion to try and come to a solution that fits all. They are also clear in their strategy with us which helps. It is much more planned in advance and very simple.”

The wholesaler continues to grow its KeyStore estate across Scotland and the north of England. JW Filshill, one of Scotland’s oldest independent food and drink wholesalers, will relocate to a brand new, purpose-built distribution centre near Glasgow Airport early next year.

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