Welcome From Chris Smylie
Hello and welcome to the Spring edition of our newsletter – the first of 2021!
We’ve had a really exciting start to the year, with site developments well under way at Smylies HQ and the team securing some brilliant additions to our customer portfolio.
Just over one year ago, we were thrown into unchartered and unsettling territory with the UK’s first lockdown and it’s fair to say that none of us could have predicted the year ahead.
I am grateful that our team worked quickly and efficiently to adapt to new ways of working and ensure that our customers and suppliers were largely unaffected by the changes.
Alongside Brexit, it has certainly been a period of adjustment for Smylies and we have had to make many quick decisions on ways to adapt certain processes, in order to maintain service levels.
Smylies have continued to provide the excellent customer service that we are known for and it’s all down to the consistent hard work and dedication of our team, so I want to say a big thank you to each and every one of the Smylies family.
I hope you enjoy reading about the latest developments, we’re all looking forward to taking small steps back to normality and can’t wait for the year ahead, which is set to be another successful one.
Best wishes, Chris Smylie, Managing Director
You may recall from the last edition, that Smylies are embarking on a sustainability journey, which will transform the Smylies site into an eco-friendlier atmosphere, improve the working environment and help us reduce our carbon footprint even further.
This project is now full steam ahead and we’ve already made lots of fantastic changes. Our fruit trees, plants and shrubs have been planted and the wildflower meadow is starting to take shape. We have built new outdoor staff shelters and the seating is now under way and set to be completed shortly. We are hoping that all the work will be finished by the end of Summer 2021, so we can’t wait to share another update with you in the next edition.
A new staff canteen has also recently been completed and the talented artists at Sketchbook Design in Manchester, completed a bespoke Smylies mural on the wall. It embodies all of our visions, values and showcases what’s at the heart of the Smylies team.
Smylies are pleased to welcome Cathy Williams to the Smylies team, who joined us as a Credit Controller in February 2021. Cathy joins us from Survitec and brings a wealth of experience to the role, working alongside our strong finance team. Cathy commented: “I am delighted to join Smylies, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for the company.” Smylies know that our employees are our biggest asset and we’re proud to have been able to continue building our team, despite the uncertainty that the pandemic has caused.
The Smylies team has been working harder than ever, to raise the visibility of our partnered brands. Recently, Smylies have welcomed another huge brand to the Smylies Brand Builder in the name of Britvic, a popular UK producer of soft drink brands such as J20, Tango, Robinsons and Purdey’s. Britvic is joining the likes of Mr Organic and Biona in taking advantage of the Smylies Brand Builder experience.
The Smylies Brand Builder is unique in the opportunities it provides for food and drink brands. Smylies puts technology at the forefront of Brand Builder campaigns to drive sales towards our partnered brands from over 50 international locations. As the weeks go by, the Smylies Brand Builder is attracting more and more brands every day. The Smylies team can’t wait to introduce more brands to the Brand Builder family in 2021.
The team has been busy developing relationships with existing suppliers, but also sourcing new and exciting ones to ensure that our customers have the best selection of FMCG brands on offer. Smylies recently brought Bio-D on board, an exciting brand of ethical and affordable cleaning products that use naturally derived ingredients, which are less harsh than many you find on the supermarket shelf. Bio-D makes its own products in the UK and has full traceability on all ingredients, ensuring that they are ethically and sustainably sourced, don’t harm people or the environment and don’t cost the earth. We are already receiving great feedback on products from this innovative new supplier.
Many of our current suppliers are launching exciting new product developments over the coming months and we’re really looking forward to bringing the latest NPD to our customers. We have faced some challenges since the UK’s exit from the EU, but the team is proud to have maintained a supplier fulfilment rate of more than 90% despite these challenges. There have been some adjustments to paperwork and routes that have impacted certain processes, but the team has worked tirelessly to ensure that these difficulties don’t filter through to our suppliers and customers.
Smylies’ own label brand, The King’s Deli Crisps, has recently secured a partnership with Automatic Retailing & Vending as a UK partner for supply and distribution of the brand in the UK. Automatic is part of the hugely successful Kitwave Group and is a leading UK company on the supply of products to vending operators, wholesalers and also foodservice customers. It is an exciting next step for The King’s Deli for UK growth, one which will hugely benefit both the brand and Automatic.
Get in touch with our team to find out more about stocking the range firstname.lastname@example.org
Every issue we get to know another member of the Smylies team. This time we chat to our Business Manager, George Falck.
How long have you worked at Smylies?
Nearly 4 years.
What’s your favourite thing about working at Smylies?
Building partnerships with customers around the world and learning about all their different cultures and ways of working.
Who inspires you?
Various different bizarre sports people. Nick Butter, the first person to run a Marathon in all 196 countries and currently running 200 marathons in 100 days around Britain or Alex Thomson, arguably Britain’s best solo round the world sailor. The mentality and enthusiasm these people have is very inspiring, pushing their bodies to the brink.
Where would you most like to visit in the world?
Lucky enough to have visited some brilliant (and terrible) places, but the idea of going to French Polynesia and seeing the blue location dot on google maps, thousands of miles away from a major city, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean sounds like a dream.
Do you have any hobbies?
90% sport based – I play golf, football and hockey most weeks and have an Aston Villa season ticket for the misery. Don’t have time for much more!
What’s your favourite sport?
Football to watch – visiting new grounds and cities with Villa and England. To play – Hockey; have done most of my life with a brilliant set of lads.
Do you have any nicknames?
Fortunately, not really. Sometimes Flack as people can’t spell my name. Or in work often ‘Gelsby’ comes out, which is a mash up of myself and another Smylies colleague, Henry Elsby – apparently the two of us cause problems, but I never know why!?
Just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any better – Smylies are proud to announce the upcoming launch of our brand-new wholesale shop. In recent months, Smylies have been auditing and assessing our wholesale shop to look for ways in which we can improve the service it provides for our partnered brands, as well as the end user. Ultimately ensuring we are maximising the wholesale shop’s full potential.
Our mission at Smylies continues to be the growth of our business as a leading exporter of British brands worldwide. This mission is important to us as it grows the exposure of our partnered brands, situating both them and Smylies at the forefront of UK brand exports.
The updated Smylies wholesale shop will offer Google translations where applicable, CIF (cost including freight), improved search functionality, new item and best seller markers as well as reordering flexibility – among other modifications. It is Smylies’ belief that this will significantly improve the wholesale shop experience for end-users, especially where there are language barriers. Consequently, the improved wholesale shop experience will increase the product offering and make the process of placing and managing orders much easier for our customers.
Smylies are acutely aware of the trust invested in us by our partnered brands to export their goods around the globe. Fundamentally, this is what drives the Smylies team to constantly reassess and review our systems, to ensure they’re running at their best in order to maximise your brand’s experience with Smylies. Technology has been a crucial catalyst for the evolution and expansion of Smylies. It has allowed our partnered brands to export their products via land, sea and air across the globe through a seamless process from your warehouse to ours and on to its international destination. From start to finish of the export process, we have invested in state-of-the-art technology that enables us to provide a consolidation service for our customers. Advanced technology is at the core of how Smylies operate. Therefore, the entire Smylies team are incredibly excited to be launching an improved wholesale shop in the coming weeks, which continues to run concurrently with our other sophisticated tech systems – 2021 is looking great so far!
Smylies has chosen three charities to dedicate its fundraising to this year and as always, the team will be doing all they can to raise as much money as possible in the most fun and inventive ways.
Koala North West exists to provide children and their families with tailored practical and emotional support that improves wellbeing, reduces isolation and supports both children and caregivers to thrive. Koala North West believes that every parent should have the support they need in order to give their children the best start in life. They provide a comprehensive range of services, working in partnership with parents by supporting and encouraging them through the difficulties of family life.
This is a charity close to our hearts as it was co-founded by one of Smylies’ employees, George Falck, in honour of his brother Will, who passed away five years ago. Will’s Wish supports young adults aged 18 to 30 with cancer in the Merseyside region. The charity arranges and funds unique experiences chosen by them, such as sporting events, spa days, skydiving and weekends away. Smylies can’t wait to get fundraising for these fantastic causes, a number of brave team members have already signed up for Tough Mudder in September – watch this space for updates!
As always, we will continue supporting other local community causes outside of our chosen charities, and we were pleased to be able to offer a recent donation of £2500 to Dementia Together Wirral. These vital funds will be used towards ongoing core operating costs of the charity, enabling them to continue providing vital support to people living with dementia in Wirral, their families and carers. The Smylies team raised the money through various virtual fundraising activities during the UK’s 2020 lockdown, including the impressive virtual duathlon from Lands’ End to John O’Groats.
Allan Grogan, DTW Chair of Trustees, said:
“We are absolutely delighted that Smylies has chosen to support us again this year. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of this local family business. Once we are able to get back to offering our usual activities, this donation will help to cover the cost of providing monthly musical groups, day coach trips and craft sessions.”
Hard to believe, but the Smylies team is already thinking about Christmas 2021! Smylies are hard at work compiling the best ever Christmas offering, which is more comprehensive and more competitively priced than anything we have done before at Christmas. Get in touch with the team to make sure you get the latest updates on this as it rolls out – it’s not to be missed! Don’t miss the Smylies Christmas order deadline – 24th June 2021