Scotts Miracle-Gro has reported a sharp improvement in its delivery performance since it opened its 154,000sq ft Quattro distribution centre at Doncaster earlier this year, with logistics handled by DHL.
In 2009, the last full year under the previous arrangement of using five centres run by different operators, 87.9% of deliveries were made on time, according to UK and Ireland sales director Jeff Kwiatkowski.
In 2011 the figure was 98.7% overall (including the handover from the previous centres), with the Quattro centre itself achieving 99.4%. Customer complaints have fallen sharply too, from a pre-Quattro high of 1.5% of deliveries attracting complaints to just 0.35% now.
Reviewing Miracle-Gro's performance since its UK launch UK 21 years ago, Mr Kwiatkowski said it now accounts for 47% share of the fertilisers and chemicals market. The corporate strategy is to put the consumer first, and drive growth in the garden market through consumer-focused activity. He stressed the importance of true product innovation: "Not me-toos or label changes - we don't believe that to be true innovation."
Communication remains a priority and SMG is planning a £7m TV spend in 2012, supporting key products like Expand'n'Gro, Patch Magic, Roundup Gel, Evergreen Complete and Weedol Rootkill Plus. "Our products continue to grow because we continue to invest in them," said Mr Kwiatkowski.
In the growing media market, the main trend has been a sharp decline in sales of own-brand products, said Mr Kwiatkowski. SMG's Expand'n'Gro compost was 'soft launched' in 2011 in 38 garden centres in April 2011 before a full-scale launch at Glee. The soft launch established the importance of getting retail staff on board, so they can actively promote Expand'n'Gro's features and benefits; "otherwise it's simply perceived as a small bag at a high price".