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Board Member’s View

June 2019

Caoire

It’s the first time I’ve been asked to write the lead article, so I’m pleased to have this opportunity to share my perspective as the Group Finance & IT Director.

It is certainly exciting times within Blakemore. We promised our stakeholders that we would bounce back strongly following the difficult decision to sell the cash and carry division, which we certainly have done within an exceptionally short time frame. Re-establishing our profit levels and the recent acquisition of Philpotts has been testament to that progress.

Since that time we have re-organised the business which has given us a great opportunity to review how we work and operate across our teams and divisions. Benefits include, clearer accountability, unified teams, and investment in new roles. Importantly, in a number of areas it has allowed us to promote from within. Colleagues such as Scott Middleton (Head of Finance) and Barry Mitchell (Head of IT Technical Services), who have grown their careers with Blakemore since leaving school, have been rightly recognised in key senior roles within our department.

There are numerous other examples, which is great to see and demonstrates our commitment to growing and developing talent across our business.

Furthermore, backed by substantial Board investment we have been working hard to deliver new and exciting IT developments, which will help transform the way we work across key areas of the business. ‘Visma’, our commercial system, will shortly trial in store, and subsequently within our trading platforms, with numerous benefits across ordering, forecasting, store operations and customer experience. ‘Atlas’ will provide the interface between our supplier base, improving how we interact with our suppliers, and in recent weeks the Board has signed off investment to completely overhaul our Financial, Payroll and HR systems with leading market solutions, providing greater control, enhanced reporting, time and attendance improvements and allowing employees better access to their payroll information.  

So certainly no rest for Finance & IT with our teams busy planning for these key developments to further reinforce our commitment to having first-class systems that utilise the very latest developments in technology and reporting across the business.

Group wide, the senior teams across the business have been finalising our Strategic plans to ensure that we stay ahead of the competition through differentiating our business. It has been a rigorous process in understanding consumer and customer insight, as well as competitor activity, to determine how we can offer added value solutions that grow the business profitably and sustainably, the plan for which we look forward to sharing with all colleagues in the coming months.

Finally, with a summer of sporting and cultural events in the diary, as well as the warmer, lighter evenings, I’m sure we will continue to push our sales, particularly following a record Easter week, where Logistics coped with the increased demand admirably through improved processes and an excellent team delivering great service.

It’s certainly a great time to be in the business, with renewed optimism and great plans to drive the company forward, underpinned by investment, and guided by our values and purpose in growing a family business for the benefit of our staff, customers and communities.

 

Scott Munro-Morris
Group Finance & IT Director


June 6th 2019

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