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‘Collaboration Is Key’ Message at 2018 SWA Annual Conference

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‘Collaboration Is Key’ Message at 2018 SWA Annual Conference

‘Collaboration Is Key’ Message at 2018 SWA Annual Conference
June 14
14:05 2018

The Scottish Wholesale Association ‘must be steadfast in supporting its members in times of change’. That was one of the key messages delivered under the conference’s Bridging the Gap theme by SWA President Julie Dunn at the trade body’s annual three-day conference at Crieff Hydro last weekend.

As operations director of Blantyre-based Dunns Food and Drinks, Ms Dunn (pictured above left next to SWA Chief Executive Kate Salmon) assured members that the association’s collaborative approach would lead to a louder voice for the wholesale industry on a number of pertinent subjects: ‘We have partnerships with TLT for licensing issues, 121 HR Solutions for employment-related matters, and Caledonia Public affairs continues to assist us in navigating the corridors of Holyrood. Crucially, all our partners’ advice is free to our members.

Superjam founder, Fraser Doherty

‘Similarly, the SWA continues to collaborate with the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) and the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) on matters which impact our members and their customers,’ continued Julie, citing minimum unit pricing (MUP) as a prime example, adding that nowhere has this been more evident than the work completed around the implementation of MUP.

‘Our work on the forthcoming deposit return scheme (DRS) continues, with representatives from Zero Waste Scotland visiting a number of member depots to gain a proper understanding of our concerns and requirements.’

And on the subject of investment in training individuals in order to bring out their strengths, she said: ‘Wholesale is big business. We are the route to market for Scotland’s food and drinks industry and its associated products – so we need to attract, train and retain wholesale talent.’

Scotland’s National Chef, Gary Maclean

Meanwhile, the association’s work in developing links between education and industry was also singled out. ‘Once we get young people through our doors we must have the training infrastructure in place to keep them,’ she added. ‘That work is quite challenging but it is ongoing and is definitely gathering pace. Coordinated by 121 HR Solutions and funded by both the SWA and supplier members, recent training sessions have tackled subjects including GDPR, selling skills and effective management skills courses. ‘I urge members to take advantage of this extremely cost-effective training and ask suppliers to consider opening their training to us,’ added Julie.

Finally, she praised the association’s much-lauded mentoring programme as ‘one of our greatest achievements’, urging more people to come forward and participate as both mentors and mentees.

Meanwhile, Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser (above right, main picture) replaced leader Ruth Davidson on stage, and entrepreneur Fraser Doherty (inset, above right) took the audience on his journey from Edinburgh schoolboy to worldwide Superjam icon.

CalMac’s Kurt Hart

Other speakers over the three-day event included representatives from Booker, the Today’s Group, Mars Wrigley, CalMac, Bolt Learning, AG Barr and Scotland’s National Chef, Gary Maclean (pictured above centre).

Taking place at Crieff Hydro, the Scottish Wholesale Association‘s annual conference saw over 100 delegates attend a series of business sessions from 8th-10th June.

For more information on how the Scottish Wholesale Association can help your business to tackle the triple challenges of legislation, lobbying and communication between members and the 15,000 people employed in wholesaling sector, visit



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Catering Scotland

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