Teamwork between the Fortec Distribution Network and H&H Distribution proves a sweetener for Rowse Honey's ambient food distribution.
A family business established more than 70 years ago Rowse Honey has established itself as a leader in its field. Sourcing its products from all over the world, the company based in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, is one of the UK’s largest suppliers in products such as honey, lemon curd and maple syrup. Rowse counts some of the UK’s leading supermarkets among its customers. Other customers include caterers, bakers and cash and carry stores. Its delivery partner is the Fortec Distribution Network.
As a long-established family business the Rowse name is well known among the UK’s leading food wholesalers, retailers, chefs and bakers, as well as among consumers and anyone with a general interest in food. As such the delivery needs of the company are wide and varied. While some customers – such as the supermarket chains – may want orders of jars of honey, others – such as chefs – may want their goods delivered in bigger containers.
While the supermarkets may ask for a large quantity of jars other retailers, such as smaller convenience stores, may order just a few. The nature of Rowse’s business allows the company to enjoy a wide customer base. But the individual needs of a customer means Rowse needs a delivery partner which can provide a tailored service. In this case, a ‘one size fits all’ would not suit. In almost all cases the goods are needed at the earliest possible date.
For more than 30 years Rowse Honey has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with H&H Distribution. Also based in Watlington, Oxfordshire, and a specialist in the distribution of long-life and ambient foods, H&H is involved at every stage of Rowse’s delivery operation. With 32,000 sq ft of storage space to its name, H&H collects the food products and stores them in large containers in its warehouse. H&H also collects and stores the delivery containers – whether buckets, jerry cans or jars. As Rowse takes its daily orders, the company calls on H&H to deliver any given quantity of food items plus a specified quantity of containers. Once the product is picked and packed by Rowse, H&H will collect and deliver to the customer. As well as honey it also delivers marshmallows, spices, cocoa powder and salad dressing.
H&H was established in 1970 by Gerald Hollis who started out with just one vehicle. Today, with Gerald’s son Neil at the helm, H&H employs a 20-strong workforce with a fleet of 12, including artics, rigids and vans. In early 2013, H&H joined the Fortec Distribution Network. Neil said it was the first time the company had been a member of a pallet network and by his own admission, Neil had previously resisted the idea, amid concerns over whether the other Fortec licensees would understand the importance of meeting his stringent timed delivery slots. The nature of Rowse’s business allows the company to enjoy a wide customer base. But the individual needs of a customer means Rowse needs a delivery partner which can provide a tailored service. In this case, a ‘one size fits all’ would not suit. In almost all cases the goods are needed at the earliest possible date.
Neil said since joining the Fortec network he had not looked back. His customers too are reaping the rewards. He said: “I made a U-turn after being approached by Fortec and since then I have never looked back. Very early on the Fortec partnership allowed me to enhance the flexibility of my own ambient food service as it meant I could send orders as frequently as necessary.
“It wasn’t long after I joined Fortec I was able to take on even more contracts. My customers and I are enjoying the benefits of a win-win situation.”
June Pryce, Sales Administration Manager of Rowse Honey, agreed. Although there had been initial concerns when Neil announced his intention to join the network June said the Fortec service had actually benefited her business.
“We have worked with Neil for a long time and he knows our needs inside out. So when he told us other people would be handling our orders one of our main concerns was extra handling leading to spillages.
“Of course by the nature of the game we are in there is always going to be a problem that arises every now and again, but by Neil joining Fortec there has not had any adverse effect on our business and in fact it has really helped us with our smaller orders. Through the network Neil can afford to be more flexible.
“In the past, it was an inconvenience for Neil to deliver smaller orders. He would do it but of course it placed pressure on his business. Now, through Fortec, when there is a desperately urgent delivery, whether it is large or small, we can put it through the Fortec network which means it will be despatched more quickly.
“This is of tremendous benefit to us as it means our products can keep flowing through the system and can reach the shelves we need them to get to in a much quicker time.”
“WE HAVE WORKED WITH NEIL FOR A LONG TIME AND HE KNOWS OUR NEEDS INSIDE OUT. SO WHEN HE TOLD US OTHER PEOPLE WOULD BE HANDLING OUR ORDERS ONE OF OUR MAIN CONCERNS WAS EXTRA HANDLING LEADING TO SPILLAGES."