Practically Parfetts

Joe Kaye is General Manager of Parfetts’ depot on Cargo Fleet Lane, Middlesborough. Founded by the Parfetts family in 1980 and now employee-owned, Parfetts also has branches in Halifax, Somercotes, Sheffield, Stockport and two Merseyside depots in Aintree and Anfield. Parfetts supplies a comprehensive range of food, drink and tobacco, and is renowned among retailers and caterers in the North West as the region’s foremost independent cash and carry.

Joe Kaye spoke to Wholesale Manager. How long have you been in this job? What were you doing before?

I started 10 years ago with Parfetts’ Halifax depot as a checkout operative and became a shop floor supervisor at 19. I then joined a management training programme, which took me to our Sheffield depot. In 2017 I returned to Halifax as supply chain manager. In June 2018 the company bought its seventh depot in Middlesbrough, and I was asked to help with the launch and bring processes, procedures and standards in line with the other depots. In January this year, I was appointed as general manager.

How do you spend a typical working day?

We start the morning by ensuring the day’s customer deliveries are ready and loaded for dispatch and we’re delivering the best availability. Once the deliveries are on the road, we assess the next day’s picking and plan to ensure everything is picked and ready for either collection or delivery. I do a floor walk with my supply chain manager, to assess which areas need most resource and build a plan from there.

Once the staff know the day’s plan I get on top of my emails, then I like to get out on the floor as much as I can and talk to customers, to get up to date on how business is for them, catch up on competitors, and get feedback on our current retail club promotions. I also share information with the customers, keep them up to date with new government rules and regulations, upcoming promotions, negotiate deals and talk to them about our fascia offering and general chit chat.

I also like to spend as much time as possible visiting customers, as they open up much more. We have managed to convert several stores to Go Local recently that were previously under another symbol group. A visit from me and Gareth – one of the depot’s RDA’s – helped secure this new business. Retailers like the personal touch of a general manager visiting them.

How long has this depot been here? How big is your depot in square feet?

The depot is 76,500 sq ft. It opened in 1984 as Tyne Tees Cash and Carry and became a Parfetts operation in 2018.

How many staff do you have and who are the key people on your team?

We have a team of 31 staff. I have two supply chain managers and four section supervisors, a cash office, checkouts, goods in and floor. I also have a supply chain administrator.

What is your weekly turnover? How does this compare to a year ago?

We have doubled turnover since last June. The growth has come from introducing a strong retail club offering, everyday low pricing, a comprehensive range and strong availability.

How would you describe your business?

We help our retailers grow and operate profitably by offering general grocery retail, drinks, tobacco, and confectionery, alongside personal retail support.

Which are your fastest-growing categories?

Beer, soft drinks, bread and cakes and confectionery.

Do you buy direct from suppliers or order from head office/regional office?

Our centralised buying team orders direct from suppliers.

How much say do you have over the products you stock?

It’s very much a joint effort. Head Office order for the company and anything they are unsure of they will question, and anything that the depot wants can be ordered upon request. I believe it works well this way.

How do you take payments in the depot?

We take cash, credit card, direct debit, bank transfer and cheque.

Do you take orders online/by phone app?

Both online ordering and web app.

Which days is the depot open? What are your trading hours?

We open seven days a week from 7am Monday to Saturday and 8am Sundays, 364 days a year, only closing on Christmas Day.

What geographical area do you cover?

We cover all the North East, including Newcastle, Sunderland, County Durham, Teesside and Ripon and the surrounding areas.

Who are your customers?

They are mainly convenience retailers, CTNs, foodservice and pubs.

Who are your local competitors?

Booker and Batley’s both cover our patch.

Do you have forklift trucks?

We operate four forklifts with two reach and two counterbalance.

What Wholesale IT do you have?

We have a great web app, website, Facebook and Twitter.