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5 trends disrupting the traditional wholesale distribution model

Multichannel Distribution Specialists

Integrating Wholesale Distribution alongside In-Store, Online and Machine-to-Machine to let today's multichannel businesses increase efficiency and reduce costs while achieving flexible and agile control of the supply chain.

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Archive for December 2012

Iconic British model maker Hornby brings Humbrol paint manufacturing back home

20th December 2012

Enamel paints to be produced in North West London

Somewhat less popular today than it used to be, it is a matter of some nostalgia that generations of Britain’s youngsters have grown up making plastic model kits. In the age before computer gaming and dawn-to-dusk children’s TV channels, a staple past time was building Airfix or Revell models. The paint brand that was used to finish the models off is truly a British icon - Humbrol.

Humbrol brand owner, the equally iconic model train brand Hornby, packed manufacturing of the enamel paints off to China 10 years ago. But now it’s coming back to the UK. Established in 1924, small British family-run firm Rustins is to produce the entire Humbrol range of finishing products in North West London.

Rustins trumped competitors in China and India

Hornby chief executive, Frank Martin, said the upheaval was sparked by the rising costs of labour in China, which he said trebled in the last seven years and are set to double again in the next decade. He also emphasised how Rustins trumped competitors in China and India by saying: “In the end they could give us the best combination of price, quality, and speed of service.”

Hornby is an example of a brand owner with a geographically diversified supply chain. Humbrol adhesives are made in India, where production also moved from China recently, and its acrylic spray paints are made in Manchester. Hornby’s model manufacturing operations remain in China where they are more cost-effective.

Diversification of the manufacturing base

This diversification across the manufacturing base is a strategy that many organisations may see as highly desirable; placing all the manufacturing eggs in one basket, such as China, exposes the supply chain to risk. Hornby itself was recently dogged with supply chain issues caused by its main model production facility in China, leading the company to issue a profit warning in September, citing “substantial” disruptions.

Mr Martin also said: “There are certain things now which have become viable to manufacture in the UK where five years ago might not have been. It is no longer automatically cheaper to look overseas. The more we can manufacture in the UK, the more we will do so.” Diversify your supply chain with NetSuite If you operate in the wholesale and distribution sector then you might want to diversify your supply chain. Using NetSuite ERP to manage your supply chain end-to-end across various product ranges and lines enables you to monitor increases in TLCs (Total Landed Costs) that erode your margins. However your supply chain is configured, NetSuite provides the insight you need to take control of your supply chain strategy. BlueBridge One custom implements NetSuite to meet the specific needs of each customer. As one of only two UK Three Star Award winners, NetSuite recognises our expertise and commitment to delivering customer value from NetSuite ERP. Click this link to register with BlueBridge One for a FREE 14 day trial of NetSuite.

Follow this link to see ‘Hornby model paint production exits China as costs soar’ at

What can I expect from SuiteCommerce?

18th December 2012

I often get asked about StuiteCommerce so I thought I put together a short summary of the information available so far.

SuiteCommerce is the new NetSuite edition with many enhancements on the eCommerce side of the NetSuite platform.

There will be a new SuiteCommerce enterprise edition at the same time as many SuiteCommerce features being made available on existing SiteBuilder sites. The planned launch is stated by NetSuite to be part of 2013.1 release normally during Feb-March.

SuiteCommerce enterprise is built on completely new technology and will have improved performance. However we have been told that many of the SuiteCommerce features will also be made available on existing SiteBuilder websites.

One of the new features is one-page checkout, which is currently available in BETA version free of charge. However since it is still in BETA there can be some limitations that need to be tested based on individual website needs.

SuiteCommerce main new features at a glance

  • Site Navigation/Search: Faceted navigation for filtering of product and categories. Robust search on any product field or description. Fuzzy search matches on similar words/synonyms. Faceted navigation for filtering of search results
  • One-page checkout: Flexible checkout process can be changed to be any number of steps, all on the same page. Furthermore you will have full control over the design and appearance of the checkout.
  • Commerce Everywhere: Using technologies such as responsive design to adopt elements on the page dependent on the device it is viewed on. This ensures your website adopts well to different devices such as smartphones and tables.
  • Promotions and Pricing: Multiple price lists. Customer/segment based pricing. Various types of promotions/discounts/coupons. Pricing rules to specify sites, stores, customers, products and categories.
  • B2B Commerce: Invoicing and credit based payment processes.
  • Improved Performance: The new SuiteCommerce Enterprise edition is developed on an entirely new technology and as such will be faster in performance both in terms of page load and dynamic content changes.
  • My Account section: My Account pages (Customer centre) can be fully designed to any appearance you like.

More information:

About the Author: Ashkan Parsa is the eCommerce Manager at BlueBridge One. Ashkan has been managing NetSuite eCommerce projects for the past 5 years. In his free time Ashkan runs a gadget blog and plays tennis. 

Local manufacturing is the clear route to reviving the UK economy

12th December 2012

Frilly knickers reviving flagging UK economy!?

Central to the issues of reviving the UK economy and job creation is the need to repatriate manufacturing activity to the UK. In macroeconomic speak, we need to increase economic output. And we need something to output. Would you believe frilly knickers are leading the way?

On the day of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, 5th December, Channel 4 News broadcast live from the shop floor of Headen & Quarmby a long established women’s nightwear manufacturer in Middleton, Greater Manchester. Demand for the company’s ‘Kinky Knickers’ range has been boosted since appearing on retail queen Mary Portas’ show ‘The Bottom Line’.

Responding to Jon Snow’s opening remarks MD David Moore commented on the company importing 40 manufacturing jobs back from China: “The industry itself could create hundreds. Ourselves, we want a rapid expansion of growth. Our customers want it. There’s a public hunger and appetite for the product we’re producing. The sky’s the limit as far as we’re concerned.”

Apple to manufacture iMacs in the US in 2013

The following day, US broadcaster ABC News ran a similar story on the local manufacture of something which for some, anyway, will seem far less exciting. Tech darlings Apple are to invest $100 million in a move that will see the company’s iMac computers manufactured in the US (not just assembled) in 2013.

In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Tim Cook, Steve Jobs successor said: "I think no one is looking at this as deeply as we are or going as deep in the supply chain. We're back to the mines. We're going all the way, not just at the first layer. And in addition to that, we've chosen to be incredibly transparent with it. I invite everyone to copy us."

Monitor the situation with NetSuite and BlueBridge One

Not every business, like Headen & Quarmby, can enjoy a lucky break as a result of a TV show and it is beyond the capability of most businesses to be able to go “back to the mines,” like Apple. It may not suit every business to bring manufacturing back to the UK; however, with out access to the right data how are you going to know?

NetSuite’s cloud based ERP solution lets wholesale & distribution businesses decide if local manufacturing is viable for their business. Comprehensive end-to-end reporting across the supply chain keeps you on top of things in real time.

It might be that the time is not quite yet right to pursue a local manufacturing strategy. With NetSuite you can monitor the situation as it changes - monthly, weekly or at any interval you choose - to spot the tipping point.

As a leading NetSuite UK solution provider, BlueBridge One custom implements ERP to meet the needs of each individual customer business. The ERP solution can be deployed as a combination that includes CRM to drive and integrate sales force activity and the recently updated e-commerce engine SuiteCommerce to provide online shopping capability.

Why not take a FREE 14 day trial of NetSuite? It’s all online so there’s no software to download and conflict with your existing systems. Please click here to register for the trial.

Click here to see the report ‘Apple To Start Making Some Mac Computers in America in 2013’ at ABC NEWS > Tech This Out.

NetSuite ERP custom implemented by BlueBridge One provides the flexibility to reorganise your business and take advantage of emerging trends before your competitors can.