David Hider Oct 2014

Here at Hider Food Imports Ltd, we are just a few months away from celebrating our 50th Hider-009606anniversary (April 2015). I am very proud to have watched the company achieve this milestone in a very competitive market place and we are looking to consolidate our position for the future, so we can continue to provide you, the retailer with the service that you have come to expect from us.

As is often the way when milestone dates are approached, a feverish bout of introspection was triggered and this has led to changes….. call it a corporate midlife crisis! However, instead of buying a Harley Davidson and travelling to an ashram to find ourselves, we instigated an internal assessment of the company…. not very rock and roll, but very useful. Several areas were identified across the organisation where improvements and enhancements could be made to better serve our ever burgeoning customer base. Acting on the findings of this assessments, we have been undertaking a number of projects throughout 2014, designed to prepare us for another 50 years of business as the UK’s leading supplier of speciality foods to the independent sector. Investment in these projects has topped £1million over the last 12 months and clearly demonstrates our commitment to our customers, suppliers and staff, in fact all those associated with ‘The Fine Food Family’ for the next generation and beyond.

The strategy was three pronged, focusing on the warehousing operation, structuring of human resource and office layout and finally our approach to marketing.

An additional 25,000 sq ft of warehousing space has been developed exceeding the target of 15,000 sq ft and giving space for projected growth over the coming years. This now brings the total warehousing space to over 100,000 sq ft across the two sites. The goal of this expansion was to improve efficiency on picking accuracy, order fulfilment, and responsiveness, whilst at the same time achieving a reduction in waste through poor stock rotation and seasonal inability to satisfy customer demand. Order fulfilment levels currently sit at around an enviable 95% and these changes will enable us to improve on this. A welcome additional benefit is an enlarged storage capacity to increase stockholding and the flexibility that this will provide.

A further key advancement is the creation of a specific ‘Goods In’ marshalling area of 10,000 sq ft. This area will be used to inspect and technically approve all incoming consignments and ensure full product traceability. This bolsters our unrivalled record in the technical side of the business and gives our customers the confidence that Hider Foods products and branded lines wholesaled by ourselves adhere to increasingly stringent levels of food safety and trading standards as required by law.

The warehousing expansion is now complete and we are very grateful to you, our customers for your patience and understanding during what we are delighted to say was a mercifully brief period of transition.

The second part of the restructuring involved the development of improved office accommodation for our sales and buying teams. This will facilitate communication between employees and different teams and increase productivity. Public areas have also been developed to cater for increasing numbers of suppliers and customers choosing to visit the premises. A number of new meeting rooms and a boardroom are now operational and a full kitchen facility has been added to enable us to assess potential products more thoroughly as my waist line will attest to!

The final initiative involves a drive to improve our use of the internet in our sales, promotional and marketing activities. The new website has gone live (as you will by now be aware!) and affords a better experience for prospective and existing customers – it will be the focal point for all activities. We will be using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn in a more considered strategic approach together with regular newsletters and blogs to give updates on new products, availability, promotions, company news and trade shows. So please keep an eye out for all our new avenues of information delivery. Our customers are the life blood of the company and we are committed to keeping you abreast of all news and making Hider Food Imports Ltd, The Fine Food Family, the modern and progressive distribution partner that you need to thrive and grow in this marketplace.

If you would like to receive our email newsletters highlighting promotions, product and company news and events, please send an email to competition@hiderfoods.co.uk with your name and company name, whist you are at it, you might want to nominate a name for our new Hider Squirrel? Details of the competition are on the home page, just click on the cute little fellow and you will be taken through to his very own eDrey and the proposer of the chosen name will win a hamper worth over £250.

David Hider