When the coronavirus lockdown loomed large on 25 March, The Wine Society closed their warehouse to shield their staff and turned to Johnston Logistics UK to temporarily manage their entire stock.
Alex Vooght, Inventory Manager for The Wine Society, says: “We closed our warehouse and offices for just under 2 weeks to protect our staff and review our operational processes. This was only made possible by Johnston Logistics who directly received and distributed 379 extra pallets in those weeks alone.”
The world’s oldest co-operative wine merchant, The Wine Society chose Johnston Logistics UK in late 2018 to help deliver the logistics needed to satisfy their rapidly growing membership. Less than 18 months later, they called Johnston Logistics UK to ask if they could immediately manage their entire logistics as they entered lockdown against the coronavirus pandemic.
Iain Hill, Head of Commercial & Customer Services, says: “It was an unprecedented time where almost all our clients were turning to us to hold on to more stock, move more essential goods or simply handle everything. When The Wine Society’s call came we simply looked at our resources, moved a few things around and said yes.”
Stocking over 1,500 wines from around the world, The Wine Society is one of the UK’s largest online wine retailers. Norfolk-based Johnston Logistics UK provide HMRC bonded warehousing to help receive, store and distribute their member’s choices.
Vooght adds: “Johnston Logistics agreement to accept these additional deliveries at such short notice was invaluable. We have some tricky deliveries to check and the receipts went very smoothly. Their team also did a great job when we started to recall a large amount of the stock back to us.”
Vooght also praises Liga Sturmane, a key member of Johnston Logistic UK’s customer service team, who he describes as “fantastic throughout”.
As reported, Johnston Logistics UK experienced up to an 810% increase in throughput of products for some drinks-industry clients, as locked-down Brits turned to their favourite tipples. The Wine Society too has seen a large increase in demand throughout lockdown and beyond.
The Wine Society can trace its history back to the last Great Exhibition in 1874 and is owned solely by its members. Their mission is to champion the joy of good wine, for which they have won numerous awards including Wine Club of the Year for the last three years running.
Based in Stevenage, the society has seen continued growth in membership resulting in them outsourcing large parts of their warehousing and logistics to Johnston Logistics UK. As well as importing, storing and distributing over 20,000 pallets of alcoholic drinks every year, Johnston Logistics UK provide a full range of third-party logistics for companies across retail, food, drink, manufacturing and wholesale.
Hill concludes: “With retail and leisure now open, conditions are certainly returning to something approaching normal. However, with an unpredictable period ahead, we remain ready and able to step in and support clients immediately wherever we can.