The NFRN’s involvement with the Press Distribution Forum (PDF) will be a catalyst in driving improvements to the supply chain, says new chairman Simon Gage.

Mr Gage, who is also sales director at Smiths News, said governance of the supply chain was most effective when all stakeholders played a part.

He hailed a reduction in re-runs during 2014 and said he believed progress would continue next year – but warned that there were “no easy solutions” to delivery problems blighting HND agents. “It has been a big positive step to get engagement with the NFRN and I certainly hope this will continue in 2015,” he said.

“The discussions we have had to date have been very constructive and this demonstrates the value the NFRN can bring to the PDF.

“The PDF has discussed the issues raised by the NFRN over delivery timeliness and the News Media Association and Association of Newspaper and Magazine Wholesalers are in active discussions over what could be done to further improve services to retailers.” Mr Gage’s appointment as 2015 chairman was welcomed last week by the NFRN.

Late deliveries of newspapers were a source of constant frustration for retailers in 2014 but with a wholesaler at the helm of the PDF we hope to see decisive action being taken

Chief executive Paul Baxter said: “Late deliveries of newspapers were a source of constant frustration for retailers in 2014 but with a wholesaler at the helm of the PDF we hope to see decisive action being taken.”

Despite ongoing issues – including re-runs, late deliveries, damaged copies and allocation problems – the UK had “world leading distribution of newspaper and magazine titles to retailers”, insisted Mr Gage.

“Of course there is more we can do but, as we approach the adverse winter weather, I have no doubt that of all the products consumers buy or get delivered, they will get their newspapers and magazines every day.”

“In such a time sensitive supply chain there will always be occasions when plans don’t work exactly but publishers and wholesalers actively work to try and minimise re-runs.”

See this week’s RN to read NFRN national president Martyn Brown’s views on PDF engagement