Vital Brings In More Changes

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Vital brings in more changes
22nd September 2017

By Karen Pickwick

Joanne Ward, new senior brand manager at Vital

The new management team at Vital Pet Products has confirmed more key appointments and is moving to regional teams and a new express pick service for smaller orders.

The expanded team at Vital now includes Sam Hearn, who takes on the role of senior buying manager. He joins Vital from Poundstretcher and will be applying his experience in purchasing for the pet category to drive value and create exclusive promotions for the independent retailer.

Sam is also encouraging new brands to make his buying team their first point of call to help Vital continue to deliver a diverse mix of products.

“Suppliers can benefit from working with us because we don’t stop at listing and distributing. We actively support the brands that work well for our customers,” he said.

Joanne Ward, who previously worked for Regatta PLC and Harry Hall, is senior brand manager for the company. Retailers can expect to see the new branding for Vital Pet Trade Solutions roll out in the coming months, reflecting how the management team want ‘to partner with retailers to support business growth’.

A new regional team structure will ensure that a total of eight areas each have people who understand the local retailing dynamics providing personal customer service. Each region will have a dedicated customer relationship manager and supporting customer service representatives. An intelligent phone system will ensure that retailers are connected with the appropriate area team.

The south of England team is trialling new GPS technology that enables them to provide live information on delivery drops and estimated arrival times. Preliminary results have been so positive that the system is likely to be rolled out across the country by the middle of next month (October).

Another move is a new Express Pick service, which offers free next-day delivery on £60 orders across thousands of qualifying products. This enables retailers to be more flexible and responsive to customer requests while still preserving profit margins.

Director Sunny Sharma says he has been pleased to see how quickly his team has been responding to business challenges and putting in place improvements.

“We have some really knowledgeable, experienced people who have built up strong relationships with the trade and brought in people who bring a new perspective and ideas from other business sectors,” he said. “It’s a powerful mix and it’s great to see the energy and enthusiasm it’s generating in the business.”

Vital Pet Products has more than 35 years of experience of wholesaling to the independent specialist pet and aquatic trade. In February this year, the business was acquired by the Subura Group.