BAKO WESTERN LIMITED CHAIRWOMAN’S REPORT
FOR THE FINANCIAL YEAR ENDING 28TH FEBRUARY 2019
Bako has had another successful year amid a challenging economic and political climate.
Turnover has slightly reduced from £34m in 2018 to £33m in 2019. This was mainly due to changes within the sales of bulk commodity items. For example 10 individual products out of the 3,500 lines sold had reduced sales which totalled in excess of £0.9m.
Despite rising operational costs such as diesel, electricity, business rates and employment costs we seek to maintain low margins for the benefit of our members.
The company continues to be in a strong financial position with net balance sheet assets of £8.3m as at 28 February 2019 (2018: £8.6m) this reflects rebates paid to members during the financial year.
It is the company’s objective to meet customer requirements and, where possible, to exceed customer expectations by providing products and services that are fit for purpose in these challenging times.
After last years’ AGM the Board and management team took on a number of tasks in which members felt we could make improvements.
One of these being customer services and the time it took to speak to a member of the customer services team. I am very pleased to report we currently answer 99% of all calls. We also have a huge reduction in credit notes achieving below 10% last month, and for members using our on line ordering system, they can now place orders up to 11am on the day prior to receiving their delivery.
Brexit and the extended negotiations have created volatility in the exchange rate during the year and in preparation for the leave date we have built additional stock, carrying an extra £400,000 of stock against the previous year.
Last year I reported that when our new Warehouse Manager joined the team we had plans to invest in a new warehouse management system, to deliver improvements in service and performance, we have now selected a market leading warehouse management system and the project has now commenced. We hope it will go live this autumn, in addition to this, secondary checks of customer orders have delivered improvements to order accuracy.
Our systems and processes ensure that high standards are maintained in order to retain our BRC accreditation. We continue to develop “Webshop” and to encourage members to use this facility.
Our credit control team continues to do an excellent job looking for ways to reduce bad debts.
We are proud to remain a customer owned organisation, with many long term members of the Society. We continue to follow closely the trends in the market place and following changes to demand we are working on a project to materially increase our freezer capacity as there is a continued move, by a number of existing and new customers to finished goods. I look forward to updating you on the opportunities this will bring.
We also face the challenges of operating in a market competing with both regional and national operators where price and service are key factors.
We continually look at our operations and the impact on the local and wider environment and seek to minimise any negative impact. During the year electrical connection points for loaded temperature controlled vehicles has been completed yielding savings in diesel usage and reduced vehicle emissions.
We continue to review our waste solutions, recycling plastic and cardboard, waste food goes to a recycling site for anaerobic digestion. We also continually look for alternatives to the use of plastics.
I would like to conclude this report by thanking the whole of the BAKO Western team and my fellow directors for all of their support throughout the year.
Thank you all
Karen Milner (Chairwoman)