By Deborah Jackson, editor National Liquor News

Independent Brands Australia (IBA) has outlined plans to evolve its Merchandise and Promotions business model, with the ultimate goal of being stronger and more sustainable within the independent retail sector.

In an email issued to supplier partners and obtained by TheShout, IBA explained that the primary objective of this initiative is to streamline operations, gain efficiencies and embed a structure that will support the long-term growth of the IBA model.

As Rod Pritchard, the General Manager, Merchandise for Australian Liquor Marketers (ALM) explained to TheShout, the operational changes are ultimately about “ensuring a successful and sustainable independent sector”.

“The business model we are operating with has been in place since the inception of IBA and ultimately the efficiencies that will derive from the new model, while observing the strength of the current model are fairly compelling,” said Pritchard.

The changes to the model include delivering greater efficiency by aligning resources to a centralised support office function and removing the duplication of administrative tasks across states. What this means is that the company will be reallocating state-based resources into a more centralised model based out of its head office in Macquarie Park, Sydney.

State Promotions Managers will transition into new roles as IBA Business Managers, and where currently there are state-based Promotional Coordinators, those roles will be reallocated to the centralised hub at Macquarie Park.

“This is a culmination of 15 months of dialogue with retailers, with suppliers, as well as internal stakeholders to identify where the opportunities lie,” said Pritchard.

“We've got a clear focus around what we are trying to achieve to ensure a successful independent sector. A couple of the initiatives that we are focusing on are definitely around streamlining our decision making and ultimately being more efficient and effective with the resources that we actually have around the country. Continuing to focus on the retailer engagement as the starting point and the finishing point of everything we do.”

While some retailers had expressed concerns about the impending operational changes to TheShout, Pritchard assured that there would be no repercussions to any of IBA’s retail liquor brands.

“Nothing will be changing for any of our retailers,” he explained. “Internally we define success by a measure that would have our retailers virtually not know that we have altered our operational model.

“Ultimately, the evolution of the model though is absolutely focused on the sustainability of the independent sector. 'Successful independents' is one of the mantras of Metcash, so obviously that cascades for us into the ALM and IBA space. We obviously need to be as efficient and work as smart as we can, so what we've identified is an operational efficiency. Ultimately there are some roles impacted, but at the same time, we actually look to reallocate resources into more potentially value adding tasks.

“This is absolutely about the sustainability of the independent sector, and our success is their success ultimately or vice versa in fact. We're here to support them to ensure that we've got a business into the future.”

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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