B&M is a fast-growing discount retailer, headquartered in Speke, and operates from over 500 high street and out-of-town stores across the UK. It offers its customers a huge variety of products from famous brands at the very best prices.
With such a focus on value, having a flexible and lean operation is critical to the company’s business model and its outstanding growth in recent years. This approach comes with various challenges. Electricals, toys and other household goods are subject to seasonal fluctuations and new trends. Also, consumer expectations on range, availability and price have never been higher. It’s critical to B&M’s proposition to be able to fulfil these as competitively as possible.
The company continually reviews its logistics arrangements across the whole of its supply chain, looking for opportunities to ensure that its total costs are as low as possible. To help achieve this impact on its bottom line, B&M has increasingly worked with the Peel Ports to identify and secure greater efficiencies.
The relationship began in earnest in 2011, when B&M agreed to ship cargo over the quay at Liverpool in the run-up to the festive period, which is always the busiest and most demanding for the company. Since then the range of services has expanded and includes both quay-side and in-warehouse storage. The flexible arrangement allowed B&M to accommodate an extra 85,000 pallets of stock approaching Christmas, avoiding the extra miles or costs that would otherwise have been incurred by having to use separate stores across the North West.
Because the port-centric warehousing at the port is multiuser, B&M has not had to enter into rigid, long-term contracts that potentially result in sunk costs without any benefit when stock requirements are lower.
This on-demand approach has been used extensively by B&M since 2013 and has contributed to an extremely efficient supply chain that has allowed the company to add more than 200 stores to its estate during that time – one store a week!
B&M has also avoided capital investment and overhead costs by making use of existing facilities, which are virtually on its doorstep, rather than building and managing its own warehousing facilities.This also fits neatly with the company’s overall supply chain, which is to ship as close to its centre of operations as possible. Liverpool is B&M’s port of choice and routing through the Port of Liverpool has saved the equivalent of 4 million road miles, massively cutting its onward transport costs, reducing the carbon emitted and reducing the likelihood of delays on the UK network.