Garden Centre Association (GCA) and The Garden Industry Manufacturer’s Association (GIMA) members concluded during a recent webinar that garden centres will need to work in partnership with suppliers to minimise future supply chain disruption.
During the joint virtual forum, members of both associations discussed measures put in place to ensure a smooth continuity of stock availability during the autumn season and into 2021.
Iain Wylie, GCA chief executive explains: “Our latest forum allowed members to discuss the important issues currently facing our industry, after a particularly uncertain time.
“They debated the knock-on effect on their businesses due to the current trading conditions, as a result of COVID-19, as well as supply chain continuity, the pre-season attitude and whether they are anticipating a similar demand for gardening/leisure products next year.
“The effect of Christmas performance on attitude and timing of the 2021 season was also discussed, as well as the impact of COVID-19 on product development and their expectations regarding innovations for 2021. Are they currently sourcing new products and suppliers, or sticking with this year’s supply base?
“Like our previous sessions, it was noted once again, that communication between retailers and suppliers will be key going forward. However, this time the equally important message was that retailers will need to work in partnership with their chosen suppliers to maximise sales opportunities and minimise supply chain disruption and ensure stock availability.
“Unfortunately, there is no ‘one-size-fits all’ for suppliers and retailers in regard to pre-season and forward ordering. With almost daily government announcements bringing in new rules or restrictions, garden centres, in particular, find themselves prioritising the ‘here and now’ just to keep trading safely. However, there is a desire to work together with suppliers and manufacturers to ensure continuity of supply for the spring 2021 season. Retailers and suppliers need to discuss on a case by case basis.”
The panellists on behalf of the GCA were Mike Burks, The Garden’s Group managing director and GCA chairman, and GCA Midlands chairman, William Blake, who is also the director of St Peter’s Garden Centre.
Representing GIMA was Nigel Thompson, head of sales at Sipcam, John Grayson, Hozelock commercial director and David Nicholson, UK sales manager at Elho.
Vicky Nuttall, GIMA director, says: “There was a strong message from the suppliers involved in the forum about importance of pre-season in ensuring continuity of supply for 2021. With a reported extra two million new gardeners emerging from the lockdown everyone is anticipating continued interest in gardening in 2021.
“COVID-19 has created so many unknowns and uncertainties for next year, as well as other global forces affecting the whole of the supply chain, meaning suppliers are having to forecast even further ahead than usual. Pre-season ordering and early commitment to stock is now more important than ever for next year.”
The virtual forums will continue to take place during the next six to 12 months and a range of topics will be discussed. Sessions are free and exclusive to members of both trade associations.