from Julia Collis, sales and marketing director, Headcount

Sir; Siân Harrington’s feature on availability strategies (‘Which target is the best?’ The Grocer, May 14, p36) came to the interesting conclusion that, for retailers, 100% availability may not always be appropriate. It argued that it is often more profitable, for certain categories of merchandise, to accept this target as unattainable.
It was also enlightening to read in your Supply IT supplement that one of the most intractable barriers to getting stock on shelves is the level of road congestion.
Musing on these two arguments, in a motorway traffic jam, I felt enormous sympathy for suppliers who have to contend not only with the shortcomings of transport policy, but also the understandable desire of retailers to flex their merchandising.
But brands can help themselves, and their retail customers, by concentrating, not on bemoaning this situation, but on working within its constraints by taking control of their own merchandising with the right field marketing partner.