Scotland’s wholesalers must evolve to meet changing demands and challenges, according to Asim Sarwar, outgoing president of the Scottish Wholesale Association, at the trade body’s annual conference in the Crieff Hydro last month.
Addressing an audience of industry leaders from across Scotland and the rest of the UK, Sarwar, managing director of Glasgow-based United Wholesale (Scotland), said: “Last year on this very platform I commented on the fact that business is tough. That is still very much the case and the economy remains unsettled as companies across all spheres of the business spectrum digest the events and the immediate aftermath of May 7th.
“But if you read the business pages, there is definitely a lot of optimism about. Companies are investing, taking on more staff and very much looking to the future.
“In any business – and, indeed, any trade association – progress cannot come without evolution. It’s about understanding what our members’ customers want.
“We need to do much, much more to understand our customers. We can do that by working more closely with our suppliers and indeed there are many great examples of where this is already happening.
“If anyone thinks Scottish wholesalers are being complacent or that they don’t take risks – think again.”
Sarwar went on to touch on the success of the association’s mentoring programme and reaffirmed his willingness to work more closely in the future with other trade associations, including the SGF, SLTA and FWD.
As the conference drew to a close, the chains of office were passed to the association’s new (and returning) president, Eddie Lynagh.