Factory gate pricing has proved a doubled-edged sword for Wincanton, hitting volumes going through its chilled consolidation centres on the one hand, but providing opportunities to bid for primary distribution contracts with retailers on the other.
The company was recently forced to close its chilled consolidation centre in Milton Keynes after it lost some clients and volumes were hit by retailers picking up more goods direct from suppliers.
However, Wincanton is now talking to retailers about handling some of their primary distribution business, said communications director Charles Carr. "It just means that our customer would be the retailer instead of the manufacturer."
With the remaining business from Milton Keynes now transferred to other Wincanton depots, the chilled consolidation operation is back in the black, he said. "We've also won a contract to build a new automated warehouse for GlaxoSmithKline in Cheshire, and had contract renewals or extensions with Heinz, Pernod Ricard, Britvic, Unilever and Milk Link."