Wooff woof! Yes it’s me, your industrious (and occasionally industrial) Newshound reporting for duty.
You’ll be wondering if I found much to set the tail wagging at this week’s gathering of the supply chain at Fortress Wyevale. I’ll be honest…they wouldn’t let me in. Didn’t like my credentials. The cheek! I didn’t ask to see theirs.
So I’ve had to resort to sniffing the turn-ups and hemlines of the summoned horde of 100 or more after they streamed out of the Holiday Inn near Syon Park HQ from what was billed as a progress update. We can’t name names, because we promised, but we know them all and they’re not robots.
Nobody was crying, I can report, so for CEO Roger Mclaughlan and his team, it must have gone well.
“Excuse me,” I say to a man who looks to me like the chief executive of something important, “what did you think of what you heard in there?”
“Strong team,” he nods. “They’re all good individually.
“They still have a challenge in cascading direction to the rest of the business. It was well-presented plan – improvements in all areas of the business are planned.
“I still think their challenge is how do they drive footfall into the store. You need to be ‘known for something’ and I think they still aren’t quite sure what it is.
“That said, doing the basics better should give them a little bounce in 2018.”
Moving down the line, I home in on a smiling face that looks as though it liked what it heard. It was a useful meeting, he thought, clearly aimed at reassuring peoples, even though they have seriously reduced the number of suppliers they’re listing. “For those who are still trading with them, knowing they are working on things is good.”
They mentioned they were selling off “a load of excess stock”, but politely refrained from blaming anyone…
And they mentioned how things like the new Epos system and streamlined IT and mobile phone purchases will all help the business to run more smoothly.
Your Hound liked the sound of that more than what he heard next. Apparently, at one point the suppliers were invited to join in a football crowd style chant which went something like: “We are Wyevale, Wonderful Wyevale, Wyevale of the Park…”
How did that register on the Cringe-ometer, I wonder?
Anyone hoping for spectacular revelations on the day would have been disappointed, it seems. “To be honest, there wasn’t anything especially controversial or secretive presented – essentially an honest and interesting summary of their ongoing plans and initiatives,” said another trouser-leg. “The main points were the new finance facilities already widely reported, wider adoption of the distribution centre along with some inevitable supplier consolidation, local empowerment, new recruitment, focus on serviced and so on…”
I’m getting the drift. All positive, then? “Extremely,” said another turn-up (although it could have been a hemline). “I was impressed by their optimism and enthusiasm for the business. It has given me as a supplier more confidence that they are on the right road and have the bank’s support to move forward.
“I am not prepared to divulge detail but in reality it’s not that important. It was: a) this is where we’ve got to so far and b) this is where we are going next. And the desire to form strong partnerships with suppliers.”
So there we have it, my little kennel keepers. I can’t say the tail is wagging wildly, but at least it’s still holding up.