Windows of opportunity The Miles Group Ltd The Silk Mill House 196 Huddersfield Road Meltham, Huddersfield West Yorkshire HD7 3AW Tel: 01484 852411 Fax: 01484 852358 E-ail: Website: KEY PERSONNEL Managing director Geoff Dickinson National account controller Ian Mattocks Field sales manager Gill Starling Administration manager Karen Fearnley KEY BRANDS - Neutradol - Deofab - Altoids - Smith Kendon Travel Sweets - DeValle - Photo Flair - Mr. Men (toiletries) - Barbie (toiletries) - Nilco - Buddy - Jackson's - Replens - Lipmate - Enprin - Halo Bar - Allinson 9to5 Bar - MAM Ulti Soother - Simply Gentle - Fat Metaboliser - Valupak - UniCare - Fing'rs "One major advantage brokerage has is its ability to offer niche services," says managing director of The Miles Group Geoff Dickinson. "Not every broker can offer coverage of the whole industry although most can offer exceptional coverage of parts of it!" And as e-commerce globalises trade and changes the dynamics of inter and intranet trading, he believes the brokerage industry will not lose out. Dickinson explains: "The World Wide Web is not particularly different to yesterday's market, the windows are just a little smaller and glow a little brighter. If the numbers are right and the economics of home delivery become viable, e-commerce has a real future for FMCG, although there's no reason why the existing players should change. In fact, I'd go so far as to suggest there could be bigger opportunities for the wholesale and independent sectors, considering their geographically wider infrastructure." Established in 1977, The Miles Group has invested heavily in human resources and information technology, embracing IT to compliment all its trade activities. "Hand held terminals capturing retail orders at point of sale integrated with EDI and tradernet have dramatically improved performance and administration efficiencies," says Dickinson, adding: "We must be able to communicate across all of today's media; the strong broker is a communicator of the highest standard." The Group specialises in offering non-title or contract sales operations to principals typically supplying the grocery and or pharmacy markets. Coverage involves regular contact with buyers in over 5,000 retail and wholesale outlets with each principal deciding the depth of operations. "We are currently working with a number of major manufacturers in the industry with varying responsibilities," says Dickinson. "For M S George, manufacturer of the Neutradol deodoriser range, we have established full distribution in all the major grocery multiples as well as distribution levels of 95% in independent pharmacy. Bluecol Brands, a new principal, has recently contracted The Miles Group to promote their Nilco range of professional cleaners throughout the cash & carry sector only." The niche philosophy was demonstrated recently in the development of the new mint brand Altoids, a Kraft Jacobs Suchard global power brand. Operating on behalf of Kraft exclusively in the pharmacy sector, The Miles Group achieved over 65% weighted distribution within six months. "Exceptional penetration is generally expected by the global power brand owners and the resources of brokerage are generally well placed to offer it," says Dickinson. Miles' own experience proves that brokerage support is available and in demand right across the industry, made possible by the number of independent operators, each with a passion for their own specialist sector, he says. "I have always had enormous admiration for people like Des Cracknell, founder of Food Brokers, who has succeeded throughout the business," says Dickinson, "but today I feel the brokerage industry would be better served by more specialisation amongst its key players." The Group claims brand partnership is a critical factor in business development between broker and principal. "Obviously, the brand owners themselves maintain overall control and by maintaining open dialogue with the sales team to keep abreast of developments in the trade ­ which is no different than if the sales resource were in-house ­ new products, strategies or services can be developed more proactively," says Dickinson. In addition to providing human sales resources The Miles Group specialises in offering a number of other related services including merchandising, sales promotion development, promotional material placement at point of sale, competitor research and store auditing of maintained and promotional product placement. {{Z SUPPLEMENTS: BROKERAGE }}