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At last week’s national council meeting in Harrogate, NFRN trading director Russ Simper called for a review of “outdated” retailer required delivery times (RTDs).
The majority of RDTs have been in place since 1999, when they were established at an all industry meeting. Retailers responded to a request from their news wholesaler for their preferred morning slot. If the time was agreed, it became an RDT. If there was a disagreement, or the wholesaler for their preferred morning slot. If the time was agreed, it became an RDT. If there was a disagreement, or the wholesaler was unable to fulfil the request, it became a scheduled delivery time (STD).
Neville Rhodes states in his column in this weeks RN that one in 10 retailers don’t have an RTD and make do with the best their wholesaler can offer.
There has been a lot of water under the bridge since 1999. The wholesale map has changed significantly with the closure of Dawsons and branch rationalisation. But as an industry, RDTs have never been revisited.
Changes have been made on a store-by-store basis as a result of retailer complaints. But a store getting a slightly earlier slot, means another getting their papers a few minutes later. There has also been huge turnover in store ownership, and the RDT that suited the original retailer may not be best for the new owner.
On-time deliveries are vital, and late deliveries are one of the most common causes of retailer complaint. Ensuring publishers meet their scheduled arrival time (SAT) at wholesale also needs to be addressed.
I agree that now is the time to thoroughly examine the service provided by wholesalers and publishers and , where necessary, start the process from scratch.