There's a popular opinion in the FMCG sector that food and drink products are generally the'fastest' and most demanding category of product to deal with. Professionals coming from outside the sector are sometimes dismissed for roles on the ground that they wouldn't be able to adapt to the pace of the sector.
This sense of urgency and precariousness is something professionals are sometimes encouraged to thrive on. These principles often carry over to a business' approach to recruitment - for most of my assignments, professionals are required ASAP, and hiring managers will stress the importance of the vacancy, whether it be a replacement or a newly created role.
Despite this, it's extremely common to encounter delays in the recruitment process. Managers are frustrated when ideal candidates aren't presented immediately. Candidates are frustrated when they're made to wait for weeks between interview stages, only to be asked the same set of questions by a different manager. For everyone caught up in these delays, recruitment can seem like the slowest part of FMCG. The hiring process can feel like a chore, where one party is always chasing after another for updates or progress reports.
It's important for all parties to recognise that some delays are unavoidable, but equally, it's critical that recruiters should take responsibility for offering solutions, and seek ways to improve the recruitment experience, whilst mitigating against delays.
There are deep-rooted flaws to all the recruitment solutions presently available to SMEs in the food and drink industry. At Spirit, we've spent the last year engineering a complete solution to address all these flaws, based on proper consultancy, superior candidate choice, more efficient service delivery, and a reduced overall cost. We're currently running trial projects with a handful of clients, and will be expanding the model to other customers in the New Year.
Christmas is the busiest month of the year for the Wine industry and a time when targets for the year come sharply into focus. However, we were curious to learn how another important date in the calendar - the "tasting season" - is perceived by Sales & Supply Chain professionals in the industry.
These are the thoughts of some professionals we spoke to:
(1) A Shipping Manager at a major UK distributor.
"Tastings are one of the biggest hassles every year. The difficulty is doing single bottle picks, and bespoke packaging. We otherwise would never move single bottles. The issues start when the Sales team coordinate a tasting without giving us sufficient notice to get stock coordinated!"
(2) A NAM for a leading distributor.
"It is a balancing act between going from tasting to tasting and also being able to service your current accounts. It does have an impact on my ability to win new business in one sense"
(3) A Planning Professional for a major New World importer.
"We typically see volumes go up by between 10-20% for the month immediately afterwards, but then they drop down again. I'm not sure what the cause/effect relationship is between the tastings and the increase in order volumes, because they happen at points in the year where volumes go up naturally anyway."
(4) A Senior Operations Professional at a major wine retailer.
"When I have to attend them, it means I'm spending a day outside of the office, which always sets me back massively. They can be fun, but they're not worth it, if it's putting the Logistics department at risk."
(5) A London On Trade Salesperson.
"As most of the work with accounts is done over the summer period, these tastings actually provide a good platform to speak with contacts in the trade and set up meetings for next year"
Thanks to my colleague Alex Allison for his contribution to this blog. If you are looking for your next step in the Wine sector within Sales, Marketing or Supply Chain for 2016, please do not hesitate to get in touch.