2021 has undoubtedly been an unorthodox year, with independents, brands and distributors alike feeling the inevitable effects of a turbulent period for businesses the world over. BikeBiz catches up with several UK distributors to reflect on a bizarre yet successful period for the cycling industry.
Today, we hear from Rob Haycock, CEO, ZyroFisher
The focus on the cycling industry over the past 18 months has brought in new riders and the time to ride, that along with the Government initiatives has meant we are all in a lot better place than pre-pandemic. Just like everyone else, we are trading beyond capacity in terms of availability, revenues and across all disciplines. We are working with our brand partners to ensure that we retain as many of these new customers as possible as we move forward.
We are very fortunate to have strong relationships with our brand partners and since I joined a year ago, we have not lost any brands. We have built up our portfolio in adjacent areas with Mistral – a global watersports brand and have been delighted to start supporting new partners Bryton, Continental and others I cannot mention yet in bringing them to the markets we serve.
We are investing heavily in our teams and the tools they need to properly represent our brands. This is beginning to bear fruit but still, there is a lot more to do.
Behind the scenes
As of today, we have something like 20 open hires, which we have been filling at about four per month for the last six months. We are increasing our financial facilities to provide for the expected stock intakes when they finally start to get back on track and to fast-track some of our new brands. The impact of e-commerce on the supply of basic parts, the consequences of Brexit and the upset in the freight and supply chain has meant that we have invested heavily in efficiencies in our distribution model.
New investment of nearly £500,000 has gone into the warehousing facilities and the systems that control them, the electronic interface with all our customers whether it’s the smallest trade account right through to the large multi-nationals. The increased digitisation of the sales process is my next focus.
A post-COVID world
We believe that the consumer base will continue to diversify and that the urban mobility and leisure cyclist will increase in strength relative to the pure sport of cycling. I believe that it is our job to ensure that we welcome these consumers into the fold and drive their enjoyment of our products and services as an industry.
We have bought in new training facilities for the IBD market into Darlington, which should deliver more tech talent into the industry, the improvements in the supply chain as mentioned above, the hiring of more resources into key roles in our business.
Our B2B system has had a lot of investment that initially is difficult to see but will become more visible over the coming months. Better dashboards, order servicing and date accuracy will be in the first releases.
2022 and beyond
We are very acquisitive at the moment and looking at a number of opportunities both in the UK and overseas. It is our stated aim to grow across our markets and this will come from both organic growth in our brands and their business, along with the access to new markets and territories.
Our new site in France is nearly the same size as our Darlington site and will have state of the art systems to enable total duty bonded trade across the UK and Europe, enabling our partners to get real efficiencies in their network stocks and for us to service a broader portfolio of customers.
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