Grocery suppliers have been warned not to ignore the moves by retailers to introduce backhauling and ex-factory gate pricing ­ despite any concerns they may have about the impact of such initiatives. A record number of delegates attending an IGD conference in London heard that the overwhelming majority of suppliers believed that changes were happening too fast. However IGD research found there was an acceptance that change was largely inevitable. Of those retailers quizzed by IGD, 80% thought the changes would benefit each stage of the supply chain, but only 48% of suppliers agreed. The conference heard that there was a feeling among manufacturers they were being bullied into something they did not want, a sentiment compounded by a lack of information and poor communication. However Tim Slater md, development, of logistics provider Exel said: "Manufacturers should not think their best strategy is to stick their heads in the sand and hope this goes away. We are still in the early stages of development and ideas are evolving, so there is time to shape the future. But be under no illusion that the roll out of these initiatives will accelerate in 2002. " That was clearly the view of Richard Dickson, senior manager supply chain development at Sainsbury, which is one of the prime proponents of ex-factory gate pricing. He said Sainsbury wanted to work collaboratively with suppliers to find ways of improving supply chain efficiency. But he warned "engagement is not optional". He said Sainsbury had already taken 200 suppliers through the process to apply ex-factory gate pricing and said it would be stepping up the roll out substantially next year. {{NEWS }}