The launch of a new ‘intelligent wholesale’ business next month is set to revolutionise the way drinks brands are distributed to the licensed hospitality sector.
Greater transparency, lower prices, improved customer choice and more flexibility on drinks ranges and delivery times are just some of the benefits of Ooberstock Limited, a new name in the wholesale industry.
The business is the brainchild of founder and managing director Arran Heal, a former Coca Cola Enterprises sales and marketing executive with 17 years experience in the FMCG market. Arran has worked on bringing the company to market over the last two years, raising finance and securing buy-in from brand owners and industry partners.
Ooberstock is looking to shake-up the out-dated “bricks and mortar” wholesale channels by offering a cheaper, more efficient alternative for drinks supply. By cutting out the ‘middle man’ and using Ooberstock’s online technology and distribution platform, brand owners will have greater influence over pricing and improved distribution transparency, whilst licensed trade customers can take advantage of cheaper prices and a wider range of brands to select from.
The company’s model is completely unique to the marketplace. It aims to bring major cost and fulfilment efficiencies as a result of out-sourcing the core elements of the services to three industry leading specialists: Kuehne + Nagel, a global logistics provider; BCW Group, a leading business process outsourcer, who will provide credit management solutions; and iTradeNetwork, the leading provider of intelligence solutions to the food and drinks industry, who will provide supply chain IT management services.
More than 25 leading beer, wine, spirit and soft drinks brand owners are expected to join the Ooberstock distribution platform and the system has been successfully trialled with 150 retailers across the South of England taking delivery of Webster’s Yorkshire Bitter. In advance of the launch in mid April, SIBA members were given a preview of Ooberstock at the annual conference in Stratford-upon-Avon recently.
Commenting on the forthcoming launch, Arran Heal said: “As well as delivering greater choice and transparency to retailers, brand owners will be liberated from the current industry structure because they will be able to have much greater influence and visibility over where their products are distributed.
“We conducted in-depth research amongst brand owners before developing our proposition and found that traditional wholesale routes were viewed as too complex, time consuming to manage and lacking in control. With Ooberstock we aim to revolutionise the route to market by finally bringing brand owners and retailers together on a level playing field of fair and transparent trading. At launch we will be focusing our sales efforts on the independent licensed sector, but there is every opportunity for us to develop into other markets as the business develops.”
The Ooberstock system enables drinks owners to upload product information, including images, along with prices and any promotions to a dedicated brand portal. Prices and promotions can be set as standard across all distribution channels or flexed to reflect an outlet type and/or by postcode. Brand owners pay a monthly licence fee for access to the software platform so they can administer their product, price and promotional offer. A fee for each litre of product that is ordered from the brand owners is then payable which means their costs are directly tied to the volume of products sold through Ooberstock.
Retail customers will pay the net prices direct from the drinks supplier, which includes a transaction fee for each order they make and a standard delivery cost of £24 which is separately displayed regardless of the size of the order. Importantly the outlet can order as much or as little as they require selecting from a non partisan, independent range of products and decide when they would like to take delivery anytime Monday-Friday.
“The beauty for customers is that for the first time they will be able to have access to the brands they prefer to sell, rather than the brands traditional wholesalers would rather offer as part of their normal package,” explained Arran Heal. “The Ooberstock model will significantly improve the overall customer service with brand owners being able to provide more direct support through promotions and toolkits.”
Ooberstock has raised around £2million from private investors and corporate partners to bring the company to launch and has assembled a highly experienced senior management team from within the drinks and hospitality industry to work alongside Arran Heal. These include chairman Colin Pedrick, the former managing director of Enterprise Inns and UK and Ireland President of AB InBev; project director Andrew Caswell, an ex board director at Carlberg UK and commercial director Phil Newton, who was most recently employed as business development director with Kuehne + Nagel Drinks Logistics.
With ambitious plans to grow turnover to £12 million in three years, Ooberstock is set to modernise a highly traditional sector and create clear service differentiation for every stakeholder in the supply chain process. Licensees can pre-register for the service by calling 0844 4930000