It hardly seems that the dust has settled from our last change of news wholesaler, when we switched from T Cox & Son to Dawson News, that it's all change again.
News wholesaler changes create a lot of disruption, particularly in the first few weeks. Invariably, delivery times slip back, which causes a lot of difficulties in meeting the deadlines to get our eight rounds out. Then you and your staff have to adapt to new procedures, new documentation and accounts as well forging new relationships with the new wholesaler's staff.
With News International recently switching the distribution of its titles from Dawson News to T Weller, we have again experienced all these same problems. This time, though, we have two news wholesalers to contend with, with completely different procedures. On a recent Sunday morning they arrived nearly two hours apart. When one wholesaler arrives before 5am and the other not till 6.45am, I have staff standing around doing nothing, as they can't distribute to my shops until nearly 7.30am, even though we open at 6.30am.
Things have improved and the delivery times are better, but it took some complaining to both T Weller and News International.
For the privilege of all this turmoil, I now pay T Weller a carriage charge of £15.75 a week, with no reduction in the Dawson News carriage charge. So unless I've missed a trick I am now paying an extra £825 a year for what is essentially a less efficient service and in the case of T Weller I have to wait an additional week for my news credits. In the current economic climate, that's another significant blow.
If all this disruption isn't enough, we now hear that in a few months Menzies will take over from Dawson's and the whole merry-go-round will start again.